Fires, power supplies a concern as western US bakesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Fires, power supplies a concern as western US bakes Sunday, 23 July 2000 19:55 (ET)
Fires, power supplies a concern as western US bakes By HIL ANDERSON
LOS ANGELES, July 23 (UPI) - A mid-summer heat wave over much of the western United States taxed firefighters in Colorado on Sunday, and raised concerns about power supplies in California as the new workweek loomed.
The relatively cool beaches were the place to be for Southern Californians as inland temperatures hovered around the 100-degree mark as far north as Fresno and Reno, Nevada. Highs in the desert regions included 109 at Las Vegas and Palm Springs, 106 in Phoenix and 97 in Salt Lake City.
Another band of temperatures in the 90s stretched from Texas to Montana, but the parched and wilted Southeast enjoyed some relief with welcome rain showers.
In a familiar pattern for this time of year, a dome of high pressure kept clouds and cooling sea breezes away and allowed much of the west to bake under the mid-summer sun. The conditions were expected to linger for the next few days, prompting worries that California's power system could be overwhelmed when offices and stores reopen for business on Monday.
"An increased demand for electricity, to power air-conditioning units and other appliances, is forecasted to deplete energy reserves within the state on Monday," the California Independent System Operator said Sunday in an advisory declaring Monday to be a "Power Watch Day."
Demand on Monday was expected to reach 43,600 megawatts, not quite the record of 45,884 set last summer, but enough to set the stage for a Stage One Emergency in which larger industrial customers are asked to curtail their power consumption. If demand doesn't slacken, further steps are taken involving mandatory power cuts.
The weather was already a concern to firefighters who spent the weekend battling fast-spreading fires in many states, but primarily in Colorado.
More than 500 firefighters were in the Mesa Verde National Park in the southwest corner of the state. The lightning-sparked blaze had burned more than 6,000 acres by early Sunday and was on its way to consuming 10,000 acres with only limited containment. The park was closed and evacuated, and firefighters had to struggle through rugged terrain as the flames burned into a Ute Indian reservation.
Weather forecasts for the area called for "dry" thunderstorms that produce little rain, but plenty of lightning that could start new fires.
-- Copyright 2000 by United Press International.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 24, 2000