(CBS SF) – The National Weather Service announced that the Bay Area will experience a sustained heat wave from this weekend through mid-next week and has issued an excessive heat warning for inland areas in the East Bay and South Bay.
The heat warnings and clocks issued by the NWS prompted the California Independent System Operator (ISO) to demand voluntary power savings by residents of the state and to post a nationwide Flex Alert on Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
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The state ISO found that the electricity grid operator predicts an increase in electricity demand based on the forecast high temperatures, primarily due to the use of air conditioning in residential areas.
Consumers are encouraged to save electricity, especially in the late afternoon and early evening, when the grid is the most stressed due to higher demand and declining solar energy production. Consumers should also consider turning off unnecessary lights, using large appliances before 3 p.m. and after 10 p.m., and setting their air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher.
For more information on Flex Alerts and tips on how to save electricity, visit the ISO Flex Alert website.
In addition, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a spare-the-air alert for Friday that light winds, combined with triple-digit domestic temperatures and vehicle emissions, could lead to unhealthy smog buildup in the Bay Area.
The heat warning, which goes into effect on Friday at 11 a.m. and extends through Wednesday at 9 p.m., applies to Inner East Bay Counties, South Bay, East Bay Interior Valleys, East Bay Hills and Diablo Range as well as that Santa Clara Valley including San Jose. The warning also applies to inland areas of Monterey and San Benito counties south of the Bay Area.
A prolonged heat wave affects the interior from Friday to Wednesday. Our Excessive Heat Watch is now an excessive heat warning. The east and north bays will be hot tomorrow, and now a heat warning applies. #cawx #beattheheat pic.twitter.com/xo89Kzesf4
– NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) August 13, 2020
“Because of the long duration of this event, the build-up of heat stress will have a significant impact on the general public, pets, vegetation and farm animals in the area, especially those sensitive to heat,” the weather service said.
The afternoon highs inland could range from the mid-90s to 105 degrees from Friday and this weekend and possibly last into the next week, the weather service said.
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On Thursday, the temperatures in cities in East Bay like Walnut Creek and Concord were already over 100 degrees. When you add a heat wave to a pandemic, even cooling down simply becomes complicated.
During a typical heat wave, a KPIX 5 refrigeration center visited in Pleasant Hill could provide 52 people with cold water, snacks, and air conditioning. With COVID-19 social distancing protocols, that number is reduced to just 11.
“The senior refrigeration center, malls, a lot of stores people would go to – Starbucks, McDonald’s – are closed to access. This is how people can come and sit, ”said Sandy Bustillo of the Contra Costa County Department of Employment and Human Services.
Eating outdoors – the lifeline of many restaurants in the pandemic – suddenly has an added burden.
Sunrise Bistro and Patio in Walnut Creek spent $ 12,000 preparing their patio and parking lot for al fresco dining, only to add more expenses on Thursday. The owners installed fog machines to keep their customers cool.
“We have 12 pop-up canopies that will hopefully help with the heat. We add the Mister and hope for the best, ”said Joe Stein, co-owner of Sunrise Bistro.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Bay Area, including the interior valleys of the North Bay, the areas around the San Francisco Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains, is undergoing heat advisory. Afternoon highs in these areas could hit the 90s and possibly the 100s.
Overnight lows range from the upper 50s to the 70s in the hills, which could limit heat relief, officials said.
The weather service urged people to drink plenty of fluids, if possible not to be in the sun and in an air-conditioned room, and to check on relatives and neighbors. Children and pets are not allowed in vehicles.
People who work or spend time outdoors during the consultation should take extra precautions and postpone strenuous activities until the early morning or evening. Those who go to the coast for relief should also beware of possible currents.
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Andria Borba contributed to this story.