For residents of Southern California, Labor Day will have marked the fifth day of the year's longest heat wave to date. The oppressive heat, which brought with it a number of thunderstorms and lightning-sparked fires, has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a series of alerts — flash-flood warnings in regions affected by storm runoff and fire warnings in drier areas such as the Inland Empire.
Southern California Edison — which supplies close to 4.8 million customers — was forced to up its peak energy supply to 23,303 MW this past Friday, breaking its previous record of 22,889 set July 25, 2006. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power came close to breaking its usage record of 6,165 MW, set on July 24, 2006, two days in a row — reaching 6,039 MW on Thursday and 6,107 MW on Friday. Over the weekend, an estimated 11,500 customers were hit with power outages, which Edison officials blamed on faulty distribution transformers in the grids. Though its crews were able to fix most of the problems, certain areas still remain without electrical service. Meteorologists expect the heat wave to abate later today when temperatures are predicted to drop several degrees from their triple digit highs, continuing a steady decline over the remainder of the week. This writer, for one, is looking forward to the end of the week.