Sunday, September 2, 2007

Thousands in Southland lose power as temperatures climb

About 11,500 Southern California Edison customers sweat it out in high heat and humidity.
By LA Times Staff Writers
Los Angeles Times, California

An estimated 11,500 customers of Southern California Edison are without power today, utility officials said, as temperatures zoomed upward.

Hardest-hit cities included Monrovia, San Gabriel, Covina, San Bernardino, Calabasas, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Long Beach, Lancaster, Rosamond and Lakewood.

Edison officials reported minor problems with some grid components, including the failure of a small number of distribution transformers, but said that the overall power grid was performing well.

Crews are going first to areas where customers have been without power the longest, and the utility said it was uncertain when most of its customers would have fully restored electrical service.

Edison urged its customers "to conserve to help protect against system overload" and recommended that thermostats be set at 78 degrees or higher and that appliances and power tools not be used, especially between 3 and 6 p.m.

Temperatures Sunday were expected to reach 112 in Woodland Hills with lows in the mid-80s along the coast. By 11:40 a.m., it was already 100 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, where the average temperature at this time of year is 83.

"We're not expecting record-breaking heat but certainly above normal," said Jamie Meier, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service based in Oxnard.

Labor Day, she said, should see a "slight cool-down" of perhaps five degrees, with weather that's "still balmy." In fact, she said, it's the high relative humidity -- 40% to 50%, compared to the usual 20% -- that makes it "feel so oppressive."

"The humidity makes it feel a lot hotter," Meier said, "more like Texas than Los Angeles. We're not used to that here."

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