Children splash in Waterfront Park near the San Diego County Administration Building downtown. Photo by Chris Stone

Temperatures soared into the triple digits again Monday in parts of the San Diego area amid an extreme summer heat wave forecast to last through at least the middle of the workweek, with rotating power outages expected to compensate for a spike in electricity demand.

High pressure over the southwestern United States will keep the scorching warmth around through at least Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, which has posted an excessive heat warning, effective until 10 p.m. Thursday for San Diego County’s valleys, mountains and deserts.

Monday afternoon, the toasty conditions resulted in record high mercury readings in two local inland spots — Campo, where the maximum temperature of 106 degrees exceeded the prior Aug. 17 milestone of 103, set in 2001; and Borrego, where the swelter hit a blistering 115, topping the prior record of 113, set in 2016.

The heat wave that began late last week prompted the California Independent System Operator to order rotating power outages, which locally resulted in Friday and Saturday outages in various San Diego County areas.

San Diego Gas & Electric reported Monday afternoon that it received word from CAISO that there is a high likelihood it would order the utility to implement “widespread” rotating outages as early as 2 p.m.

The utility warned residents to have flashlights and batteries ready, as well as instructions on how to manually open power-operated garage doors.

Customers who rely on electric or battery-dependent medical technologies, such as breathing machines, power wheelchairs/scooters, and home oxygen or dialysis, were urged to be prepared to activate their emergency plans.

SDG&E also warned that traffic lights and signals could be impacted by rotating outages, and drivers were advised to exercise caution on the roads.

“Energy conservation remains critically important to help avoid the need for rotating outages, as well as the duration of outages and the number of customers affected,” according to an SDG&E statement. “Everyone is urged to do their part to cut back on energy use during this critical time.”

CAISO issued a statewide flex alert Sunday calling for voluntary electricity conservation through Wednesday between the hours of 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. each day.

Between those hours, CAISO is urging consumers to:

  • Set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees, if health permits.
  • Defer use of major appliances.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights.
  • Unplug unused electrical devices.
  • Close blinds and drapes.
  • And use fans when possible.

The NWS urged residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors. Also, young children, seniors and pets should be never be left unattended in a vehicle, where interiors can “reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes,” according to the NWS.

San Diego County has nine cooling centers available countywide, with mandatory mask wearing and social distancing protocols in place.

Alpine, Borrego Springs, Fallbrook, Lakeside, Potrero, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Spring Valley and Valley Center each have one “Cool Zone” location.

A full list of the cooling center locations can be found here.

— Story updated at 6:37 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.

— City News Service

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