“We’ve had a very June-like August — a lot of marine-layer influence,” said Jamie Meier, a meteorologist for the Los Angeles/Oxnard branch of the National Weather Forecast Office. “You know we always talk about the June gloom here in Southern California; well that’s kind of crept its way into the summer months. We’ve had a lot of days where we start out pretty gloomy, and it takes that much longer to heat up because you have to burn off the marine layer.”
Relief is in sight, with Wednesday forecasted to be 8 to 10 degrees cooler, but then more heat is on the way. For the next three months, there is a 50% chance of continuing above-normal temperatures, according to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.
In addition to the heat, single-digit humidity levels in the Los Angeles County mountains caused the weather service to issue a red-flag warning Monday, signaling high risk of brush fires, Meier said. And after Southern California experienced its driest rain season on record, hazardous conditions were already rampant, she added.
“It’s very dry out, and that combined with the triple-digit heat expected will create some critical fire danger,” Meier said. “A red-flag warning doesn’t necessarily mean that we have a high likelihood of fires forming, but what it does mean is that if a fire were to form under these conditions, it will be quite favorable for rapid growth.”
Extreme heat can wreak havoc on city utilities, especially when residents return from work and crank up their air conditioners.
In the wake of record heat in 2006 — including a 112-degree day in late July, during which 500 households lost power, and an August blackout that affected 2,500 business and residential customers downtown — Glendale Water & Power has made some improvements in anticipation of a hot summer, said Ramon Abueg, an electrical services administrator.
Utility officials replaced more than 200 transformers and implemented a system that enables administrators to anticipate potential problems with transformers, he said.
In addition, Glendale Water & Power reconfigured some circuits to better balance the system, in order to help prevent outages, he said.
But officials are not expecting nearly the loads that taxed the utility last summer — when peak usage hit 336 megawatts, he said. A 264-megawatt peak load is expected this season.
The strength of the utility’s resources may also stave off summer outages, he added. In addition to Grayson Power Plant, Glendale Water & Power can draw from outside sources from the Hoover Power Plant and wind generation, he said.
“We have plenty of capacity, so that’s not a concern,” Abueg said.
CHRIS WIEBE covers public safety and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at chris.wiebe@ latimes.com.