LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Southern Californians are being asked to cut down on their power use Thursday due to blistering temperatures which are expected to put pressure on California’s power grid.
The California Independent System Operator has issued a Flex Alert from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday.
An excessive heat warning is in effect for the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, the Inland Empire and parts of Ventura County through 8 p.m. Thursday, with temperatures expected to hit as high as 106 in some areas.
“We’re talking numbers 15 to 20 degrees warmer than where we should be for this time of year,” CBSLA Meteorologist Danielle Gersh said Thursday.
As temperatures soared quickly in the San Fernando Valley, people opted to stay in the shade and venture out earlier than usual.
“I just tried to get out for a little bit because it’s healthier but with all of these fires going on it’s been tough,” said resident Joel Moran.
Temperatures in Pasadena still hovered in the high 80s on Thursday night. Crystal Cortez and her family were among many diners who waited until right before dusk to enjoy a meal outside along Colorado Blvd.
“Depending on the heat, we don’t want to be out in the sun too much and make sure we hydrate,” she said.
The warm, dry conditions will also continue the trend of elevated fire danger as firefighters continue to battle the Bobcat Fire burning in the Angeles National Forest.
During the Flex Alert, people are asked to conserve energy as much as possible by keeping their air conditioning thermostats no lower than 78 degrees and limiting the use of major appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers. They should also turn off lights and unplug cell phone chargers when not in use.
RELATED: What Is The Purpose Of A Flex Alert?
Flex Alerts are issued when temperatures are expected to be so high that they prompt a subsequent increase in energy use that could potentially stress the power grid, causing outages or forcing rolling blackouts. Flex Alerts are designed to prevent that stress by asking residents to voluntarily conserve energy during the hottest and highest usage periods of the day.
This marks the third heat wave to roil the region since mid-August. The first two heat waves forced California to implement rolling blackouts for the first time since 2001.
“September and October can be really warm, it’s not that unusual to see that,” said Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “The most uncommon thing about this whole summer has been the number of different heat waves. If you look a year ago, we really only had one or two significant heat events and this year has been much different.”
During one period on Aug. 15, Southern California Edison reported that about 70,000 customers were affected by rolling blackouts from Santa Monica to Woodland Hills.
While the L.A. Department of Water and Power was spared from rolling blackouts because of its independent power plants and transmission lines, it still experienced major power outages. Over Labor Day weekend, more than 77,000 LADWP customers lost electricity due to stress on the utility’s power grid.
California has also seen a historic number of wildfires spark up and down the state in recent weeks. Over 3.9 million acres have burned and 7,500 structures have been destroyed in the blazes so far this year. At least 30 people have died in the fires.
The heat is expected to stick around through Friday.