A bicyclist passed a bank sign displaying a temperature of 116 degrees in Sacramento on Monday.Credit…Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
Temperatures spiked to 112 degrees on Monday in Stockton and Paso Robles. In Sacramento, the mercury shimmered at 114 degrees. In Livermore and Fairfield, it was 116 degrees, shattering records. In Death Valley, it was a blinding 121 degrees.
As a huge heat dome settled over the West just in time for Labor Day weekend, temperatures soared across California, fueling wildfires in Siskiyou County near the Oregon border and baking Southern California to the point that, in some parts of the high desert, the skies violently opened, unleashing freak, monsoon-like rain.
Meteorologists predict the blistering heat will be with us for the rest of the week. In a news conference on Monday, the state authorities thanked Californians for conserving power, saying their efforts had lowered energy use by as much as 2 percent below forecasts.
That was the good news.
The bad news was that all of that midnight laundry and off-peak electric car charging has not been enough to forestall the possibility of blackouts.
“We have now entered the most intense phase of this heat wave,” said Elliot Mainzer, the chief executive of the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the grid. “We need two to three times as much conservation as we’ve been experiencing to keep the power on.”
Specifically, the state energy authorities are asking Californians to significantly reduce power consumption, particularly between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
During the day, California’s grid runs mostly on solar power, natural gas and power imported from other states as needed. But solar power supplies tend to decline later in the day, the state’s natural gas plants are aging and drought has constricted the availability of hydropower. Meanwhile, the heat wave is keeping nighttime temperatures high, too.
With temperatures again forecast to rise toward record territory in most inland parts of the state, Mainzer warned that rolling outages could be a possibility if consumers don’t “step up” and conserve. Alice Reynolds, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, encouraged Californians to “pre-cool” their homes in the morning by letting in cool air, lowering indoor temperatures to 70 degrees or so until 4 p.m., and then raising thermostats to 78 degrees in the late afternoon during the peak usage period.
Other requests: Avoid using large appliances; turn off unnecessary lights; and charge phones, laptops and electric vehicles before peak hours. Also stay hydrated and keep an eye on your elderly neighbors.
“It’s not over,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, the state public health officer, said on Monday. “We have a few more days. It’s going to be tough.”
If you read one story, make it this
In Palm Springs, L.G.B.T.Q. voters could sway a key House race.
The rest of the news
Wildfire deaths: At least two people were confirmed dead Monday as the Fairview fire in Riverside County grew to more than 2,700 acres, Cal Fire reported. The losses followed Sunday’s announcement of at least two deaths in Siskiyou County’s Mill fire.
Heat wave bill: A bill that would require California to rank the severity of heat waves is awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s approval, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Plastic: More than a half-dozen new bills aimed at reducing plastic use and cleaning up California’s waste stream have been approved by state lawmakers, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Fast food: California will enact a sweeping new approach to regulating fast-food restaurants after Newsom signed a bill to effectively set a minimum wage in the industry and to create new safety and anti-discrimination rules.
Hacking: A cyberattack brought down the computer systems at the Los Angeles Unified School District over the weekend, but officials said schools would open as planned this week, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Covid vaccine: The chief executive of a Los Angeles County community health center apologized after the clinic administered more than 2,000 diluted doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine last year, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Foo Fighters: A tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday in honor of the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins featured a powerful and emotional rendition of “My Hero” by a young Southern Californian: Oliver Shane Hawkins, his 16-year-old son. US Magazine has the video.
School bus stops: Sanger Unified cut multiple school bus stops this year with little notice to parents, The Fresno Bee reports.
Algae bloom: The San Francisco Bay’s harmful algae bloom was fueled by wastewater that the region’s 37 sewage plants pumped into the bay, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
What you get
For $1 million: A 1921 bungalow in Berkeley, a 1942 ranch house in Altadena and a midcentury-modern home in San Diego.
What we’re eating
Our best fish recipes.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from Rebecca Bridges, who recommends Sawyer Camp Trail in San Mateo County:
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
And before you go, some good news
On their very first date, at a Manhattan wine bar in May 2016, a waiter mistakenly referred to Michael Angelo McMillan II as Caroline Benning Hubbard’s husband.
“I didn’t have any rings or anything that would indicate that we were married,” Hubbard said, but “the chemistry that we had just sort of indicated we looked like we were a married couple.”
It wasn’t just the waiter who noticed their connection. A man sitting next to them leaned over to tell them they were a beautiful couple, and asked how long they had been together.
“And we were like, this is actually our first date,” McMillan said.
McMillan and Hubbard had met in San Francisco a month earlier, when they were both on spring break from college and in the city to attend the same conference. They also learned then that they already had friends in common.
“He just seemed so genuine, I just wanted to get to know him,” Hubbard, 27, said.
“It was very serendipitous,” said McMillan, also 27.
The two were married last month. Read more of their love story in The Times.
Thanks for reading. We’ll be back tomorrow.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: How you might feel after meditating (4 letters).
Soumya Karlamangla and Allison Honors contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].