News ID: 273066
Published: 0948 GMT August 18, 2020

29 wildfires raging across California amid heatwave

29 wildfires raging across California amid heatwave

One of the hottest air temperatures recorded anywhere on the planet in at least a century, and possibly ever, was reached on Sunday afternoon at Death Valley in California’s Mojave Desert where it soared to 130°F (54.4°C).

The temperature was recorded in the Valley’s sparsely populated Furnace Creek, reported.

According to meteorologists, it was a dry heat: Humidity fell to seven percent. But it felt “insanely hot” all the same.

Tourists on Monday took selfies by an outdoor thermometer at the Death Valley visitor center while avoiding touching metal surfaces with bare skin.

The US state is also witnessing wildfires, 29 of them, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The department has been posting maps of places which are affected by the fires and evacuations operations being carried out.

The wildfires have already blackened more than 120,000 acres of land, according to authorities. And then there is a risk of 10 million people being plunged into darkness as California’s grid operator works to keep the region’s power system from collapsing under the strain of one of the worst heatwaves in generations.

The California Independent System Operator has imposed rolling blackouts to manage overwhelming energy demands caused by an extreme heatwave.

Officials estimate that peak electricity consumption would likely exceed available supply statewide by as much as 4,400 megawatts. A lapse of that magnitude would mark the most severe shortfall to strike California’s grid since 2001, the last time utilities in the state essentially rationed energy in the form of rolling blackouts.

The controlled power disruptions, with alternating blocks of utility customers losing electricity for one or two hours at a time, are designed to prevent excess demand from triggering a more widespread collapse of the grid that could last days.

The current heatwave, which has roasted parts of Southern California in triple-digit temperatures since Friday, was attributed to an enormous high-pressure system over much of the Western United States.

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