California heat wave causes misery as temperature records drop


Anthony Wainscott has seen his fair share of hardships, living the past two years on the streets of Antelope Valley. But his personal misery index reached a new plateau during a weekend of record heat.

” It’s very hot. It’s unusually hot, ”said Wainscott, crouched in the thin shade of a palm tree at the edge of a shopping mall parking lot in Palmdale on Sunday, where the temperature reached 107 degrees. “I don’t even know how to explain it. But there is something more to play with the environment right now. And this is not good.

The 33-year-old Massachusetts native accepted the occasional donation from the drivers, who briefly rolled down their windows to offer change or a dollar or two. He used a falling supply of bottled water to fill a dish for his panting pit bull, Roscoe.

A few companies would let Wainscott and Roscoe in for a few minutes to cool off, but he found that a lot of people’s patience was running out, so he spent most of the day unbearable outside.

“The night is the only break we have,” he said. “And even then, it’s way too hot.”

Like many other California cities, Palmdale recorded record high temperatures on Saturday – reaching 112 degrees, surpassing the previous daily high of 109 in 2003, according to preliminary figures from the National Weather Service.

Palm Springs recorded a high of 111 degrees on Sunday, but that is a drop from Saturday’s high of 120, which broke the previous July 10 record. Also on Sunday, the temperature reached 110 in Lancaster, 101 in Acton and 91 in Riverside. Although the coastal areas remained in the 70s and 80s, humidity levels throughout the region brought their own discomfort.

Forecasters attributed the heat wave to an unusually large and unusually strong area of ​​high pressure hovering over the California-Nevada border, which sent temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above normal.

Anthony Wainscott, 33, and his dog, Roscoe, sit in 107-degree heat in Palmdale on Sunday. “The night is the only break we have,” he said. “And even then, it’s way too hot.”

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

While such events are quite typical for this time of year, scientists say they are becoming more frequent and intense as global temperatures rise due to human-caused climate change.

“One hundred and twenty degrees in Palm Springs is not normal,” said Ivory Small, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego. “So you can say that there is a big top [pressure system] over there.”

The town of Bishop in the eastern Sierra on Saturday recorded its highest temperature on record, 111 degrees, breaking the record of 110 set in 2002. The same goes for Barstow-Daggett Airport in the San Bernardino County, although its high of 118 has already been measured twice before, in 1994 and 2007.

Palm Springs hit 120 and Borrego 117, surpassing the respective records of 119 and 116 set on July 10, 2012. Lancaster hit 113, breaking the daily record of 112 set in 1961; Merced Regional Airport reached 111 degrees, breaking the 1961 record of 108; and Needles reached 122, breaking the 2003 record of 121.

The daily records were tied at Paso Robles, Hanford, Sandberg and South Lake Tahoe, which reached 114, 112, 98 and 93 degrees respectively.

Sunday was shaping up to be warmer in some areas, with even longtime high desert residents saying the heat seemed abnormal.

Jody Clark, 52, had to take her mother to emergency care when her blood pressure dropped to a dangerous level. She was convinced that the high temperatures threw her body out, even inside her air-conditioned house.

“It’s as hot as it has been for a long time,” said Clark, who has lived in Antelope Valley his entire life. “Now I feel like it’s 100 every day.”

He plans to move his mother out of the area, in part to combat the heat. In Texas.

Temperatures of 110 or higher sent huge crowds to swimming pools and water parks. Signs were posted at noon stating that the DryTown Water Park in Palmdale was sold out for the day. The city-run facility provided shelter to approximately 1,500 people during the day.

Visiting DryTown with an extended family group, Marcus Guerrero said he heard the temperatures were supposed to be more bearable due to the low humidity.

“People are complaining about the humidity, but I would take care of it,” said Guerrero, singer and trumpeter in a mariachi band. “Winters seem shorter and shorter and summers hotter and hotter. “

A woman cools off at DryTown Water Park in jPalmdale.

A woman cools off at DryTown Water Park in Palmdale. The city-run facility provided shelter to approximately 1,500 people during the day.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

But conditions on Sunday were actually wetter than normal due to the humidity of the monsoon coming up from the Gulf of California, said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the Oxnard National Weather Service. This allows for less cooling at night and makes it more oppressive, she said.

“What people are feeling is probably not just a little warmer, but a little heavy,” she said.

Here, residents tend to feel the humidity once it hits 35%, as it had been in many areas on Sunday afternoon, or even 20% in desert areas.

Still, conditions were nothing like what people experience in other parts of the country, where humidity can easily reach 85 to 90 percent at this time of year, Hoxsie said.

“People in the South and East would laugh at us a lot if we called it wet,” she noted.

Although things were expected to start to cool gradually on Monday and Tuesday, the high pressure system was moving slowly so forecasters were calling for high temperatures for at least the next week and a half.

Jenni Parra, cooling off under an awning at the water park, said it was like summer continued endlessly.

“Now I expect it to start getting hot by mid-March. And then it stays hot throughout… like October or November,” Parra said. “There is none. way you need a jacket, even on Thanksgiving. “

Parra, who grew up on California’s central coast, said the heat seemed to affect everything, even causing erratic service on her cell phone. For her, there is no reasonable explanation other than climate change. She thinks it would have been over 100 in the last days of July in Antelope Valley, but blamed the extra “six or seven degrees” on global warming.

“For me, it’s the big companies, like the power companies, that are unwilling to do something,” said Parra, 31, a mother of five. “It’s time to change, to find renewable resources and actually develop them, even if they are not going to make the same profit. That’s the problem: they want the profit for themselves rather than everyone’s profit.

The heat wave and a massive wildfire in southern Oregon that destroyed transmission lines combined to strain California’s energy supply.

The operator of the California independent system, which manages the electricity grid for most of the state, said it is calling on power plants to delay any scheduled maintenance due to an expected increase in demand on Monday and has warned residents that they might be asked to save energy in an attempt to avoid blackouts.

In a bid to free up additional energy capacity, Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday signed an executive order authorizing the emergency use of auxiliary ship engines to relieve pressure on the state’s electricity grid, according to a statement.

In northern California, the extreme heat, combined with increasing afternoon winds, complicated efforts to control a wildfire that had already grown to become the state’s largest this season until present.

Authorities have received reports that the Sugar fire destroyed homes in several communities, but no official figures have been released, information officer Lisa Cox said.

The blaze, which started on July 2, had spread to 83,256 acres by Sunday morning and remained at 8% contained. It was one of two lightning-triggered in the Plumas National Forest that together have been dubbed the Beckwourth Complex. The other, the Dotta fire, started on June 30 and spanned 670 acres and was 99% contained by Sunday morning.

Despite the best efforts of firefighters, Sugar’s blaze grew by over 22,000 acres from Saturday to Sunday as it continued to behave erratically, at one point forming a vortex of fire as it receded of an escarpment near the southern end of Constantia Road, Cox said.

“It’s really taken off,” she said. “I have to review the numbers because my eyes are a lot to assimilate.”

Firefighters have been ordered to take frequent breaks and hydrate as an excessive heat warning from the National Weather Service was extended until Tuesday.

Fire officials said rising temperatures and drought combined to pull moisture from vegetation, leading to environments that look more like the peak of the fire season than in mid-July.

“Right now we’re about two months ahead of schedule,” Cox said. “So we are seeing fire behavior that normally occurs in September.”

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