As a punishing heat wave sent temperatures soaring well into the triple digits in the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley for a second day, residents were urged to be conserve electricity while being mindful to prevent heat-related health problems.
Most of the Inland Empire will see high temperatures ranging from 108 to 114 degrees through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures in the Coachella Valley are expected to top out at 122 degrees Tuesday afternoon before cooling slightly to 118 degrees on Wednesday.
The high pressure system bringing the relentless heat prompted the weather service to issue an Excessive Heat Warning beginning Monday at 10 a.m. and remaining in effect through Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Coachella Valley, San Gorgonio Pass near Banning and Riverside County Mountains and valleys.
On Monday, Palm Springs and Thermal set maximum temperature records of 119 degrees and 122 degrees, respectively, for that date.
Early Tuesday afternoon, temperatures had reached 118 degrees in Thermal and Palm Desert, and 117 in Palm Springs and Thousand Palms. In the western side of the county, it was 103 degrees in Moreno Valley by early afternoon, 102 degrees in Hemet, 101 in Riverside, 100 in Temecula and Perris, and 99 in Corona.
Nearly 1,000 Imperial Irrigation District customers in Coachella lost power for around two hours Monday — a day which marked a new 2018 record for peak electricity demand, according to the utility.
The California Independent System Operator Corporation issued a statewide Flex Alert calling for voluntary electricity conservation from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
IID, which serves the eastern Coachella Valley and Imperial County, echoed the calls for conservation.
“IID has adequate power supplies to meet its demand, but asks customers to conserve energy to ease strain on the electric grid and maintain reliability of the system,” said Henry Martinez, manager of IID’s Energy Department.
Lows in the Coachella Valley may not dip below the 90s throughout the heat wave, meaning the minimal cooling at night could pose a health risk to those who don’t have access to air conditioning because the body needs time to cool down from the day’s heat, according to the NWS.
The NWS also warned that heat islands could form in dense urban areas where human activity causes the temperature to be higher than in open spaces.
Heat islands can cause breathing problems, heat cramps, heat stroke, or even death.
County health officials advised locals to take advantage of the 56 cooling centers that opened to the public this month and are available at no cost. A list of cooling centers can be found at http://www.capriverside.org.
Forecasters said the heat will subside back to seasonal levels by Friday, with temperatures mostly in the 90s across the board.