Heat Wave to Hit Southland this Weekend, Bringing to Mind Last Year’s Long Beach Power Outages

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Photo by Asia Morris.

Temperatures in the southland will generally rise two or three degrees today with a heat wave expected to engulf the region this weekend.

Monday, the first day of summer, will see the hottest day of the heat wave, when an excessive heat watch issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) will remain in effect from morning until night throughout Los Angeles County.

Except at the beach, temperatures between 100 and 110 degrees are expected Monday, according to NWS forecasters.

“Dangerous heat-related illness is possible, especially for sensitive populations, those conducting outdoor activities, and people without access to air conditioning,” warned an NWS statement. “Electricity will be high, and power outages are possible.”

The statement emphasized the danger of leaving pets, children and the elderly in parked cars during extreme heat, “Never, ever leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a short period of time,” the statement read.

Southland residents were also encouraged to avoid outdoor work in the afternoon, to carry out work early in the morning or in the evening and to wear light, loose-fitting clothing outdoors as well as drink plenty of water.

Speaking on the topic of last summer’s major power outages in Long Beach, purportedly caused by underground vault electrical fires and cable failures, which led to several manhole covers exploding and thousands of residents without power, Southern California Edison says several prevention measures have been established since then, while additional personnel have also been stationed throughout the region to better address an issues that may arise.

“One of the things that we did is we had a variety of measures put in place after that event, a lot of maintenance work that was done, a lot of new components brought on to the system to ensure that we have some reliability,” said Robert Villegas, spokesperson for SCE.


SCE says downtown Long Beach’s underground system is now operating “very reliably” and the question during this upcoming heat wave will be whether Southern California residents can conserve their use of power as the entire region endures the upcoming heat wave.

“That becomes much more of the question,” said Villegas. “Can our customers help us during the times of highest air conditioning use, highest consumption of electricity to lessen the strain on not just that equipment but all equipment across the territory, whether it’s underground or overhead?”

Along the coast, a high surf advisory will be in effect until 10:00PM tonight in both Los Angeles and Orange counties. Forecasters warned of waves reaching up to seven feet and strong rip and longshore currents, both a danger to people in the water. Swimmers caught in a current are advised to swim parallel to shore until able to break free.

“There is an increased risk of ocean drowning,” said an NWS statement, also warning of potential sneaker waves able to wash people off beaches.

The NWS forecast partly cloudy skies in Los Angeles County areas today and sunny skies in others, with a high of 75 expected in Long Beach. Temperatures are expected to rise Friday by one or two degrees, and by several more degrees Saturday through Monday before the heatwave is expected to wane on Tuesday.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.