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california grid warns of rotating power outages amid ‘rare and possibly fatal’ heatwave

As a record heat wave continues to sweep across California, officials warned of possible rotating power outages this weekend.

The Golden State’s Independent System Operator (ISO) declared a “Stage 2” power emergency late on Saturday, meaning that it has taken all mitigating actions but can no longer provide its expected energy requirements.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast a heat wave carrying “rare, dangerous and very possibly fatal” temperatures across Southern California for the weekend.

Temperatures in some parts of the state have soared to as high as 125 degrees Farenheit (49 Celsius) over the Labor Day Weekend, raising the specter of wildfires and power outages.

As global temperatures continue to climb, California has felt the effects especially acutely.

Millions of people across the state experienced two nights of rolling blackouts in August.

Last month, the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings after a wildfire mixed with a tornado to create a so-called “firenado.”

The weather this weekend is supposed to be hotter than the heat spell in August that precipitated the second- and third-largest forest fires in state history. Those fires are still burning in some parts of the state.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Friday,  triggering a provision allowing power companies to operate beyond their usual limits throughout the holiday weekend to help keep A/C units, refrigerators and other essential appliances running.

Officials have issued guidance to residents to turn lights off and power down extraneous appliances to conserve energy for necessities.

San Francisco-based power provider PG&E Corp said on Saturday that it may be asked by the grid operator to turn off power due to the “extreme heat.” It urged customers to conserve power.

The company said it may have to cut power early on Monday and Tuesday in parts of Northern California as hot, dry winds are expected to threaten the region.

PG&E said its potential power shut-offs may impact parts of 17 counties, which would include about 103,000 customers.

Wires contributed to this report

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