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Extreme heat hits California, spurring rolling power outages for first time since 2011

For the first time since 2011, California ordered rolling power outages on Friday night. Officials warned there may be additional blackouts to come over the weekend.

The California Independent System Operator (California ISO) declared a Stage 3 electrical emergency on Friday, ordering utilities to take measures to lighten the power load and initiating rotating outages throughout the state.

 By 10 p.m., the power outages were lifted. But more are expected Saturday, CBS Los Angeles reports.

The ongoing heat spell – sending temperatures soaring into the triple digits – is raising concerns about crowds flocking to the beach amid the coronavirus pandemic. Officials are encouraging the public to find a safe location to beat the heat and to check on elderly neighbors who may be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

"Over the past decade, the heat wave in California have caused more human harm than those things put together," said Daniel Swain, a UCLA scientist, of earthquakes and wildfires. "Heat waves and heat extremes are sort of an underestimated killer."

The hot spell is expected to last through next week.

California Heat Wave
Electrical grid transmission towers are seen in Pasadena, California on August 15, 2020. The operator of the state's power grid declared an emergency Friday evening, Aug. 14, and ordered utilities to shed their power loads. John Antczak/AP
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