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Blackout risk is ‘real’ and ‘immediate, Newsom says

California’s heat wave — one of the worst in state history — has entered day six, and while the state’s badly strained power grid escaped rolling blackouts Monday, it will be tested like never before Tuesday, officials warned. They are asking the public to ramp up conservation efforts or face the prospects of losing power, with energy use on Tuesday anticipated to be at record levels. In parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, temperatures could reach 117 or even 118 degrees.

The Chronicle’s weather team has been studying the models, and our newsroom meteorologists say that the oppressive heat will last through midweek.

Our reporters are fanning out today to bring you the latest news from around the state and the Bay Area.

Latest updates:

Oakland closes libraries without air conditioning

The Oakland Public Library temporarily closed four locations Tuesday that don’t have air conditioning and where the internal temperature exceeded 87 degrees, said library director Jamie Turbak. “We don’t have anywhere for staff to go to cool,” said Turbak. The four locations include the Melrose Branch, Elmhurt Branch, Temescal Branch and the Lakeview Branch. An additional five locations may close Tuesday if temperatures exceed 87 degrees by 3 pm, she said. There are a total of 18 branches in Oakland.

Wine Country grape harvest affected

The hot weather is speeding up the grape harvest at many Bay Area vineyards, as high temperatures cause grapes to ripen sooner than they otherwise might have. Some winemakers are racing to get grapes off the vines so that they don’t shrivel into raisins, like Bruce Devlin at Ballentine Vineyards in St. Helena, who picked most of his fruit last week in anticipation of the heat spike. Others, like winemaker Laura Barrett at St. Helena’s Clif Family Vineyards, are waiting it out, hoping that the grapes can develop a little more flavor before they begin to dehydrate. “If we can manage to hold off until next week, that’s the best case scenario for us,” said Barrett. However, she’s remaining vigilant, and said she’ll expedite the picking schedule if she observes more raisining in the berries or scorching on the vine leaves.

BART says there are delays everywhere

“There may be up to 10-min delays today systemwide in all directions,” BART tweeted. “Trains will be traveling at reduced speeds in some areas due to warm weather conditions.” On the SFO-Antioch line, delays are up to 20 minutes because of the heat.

Newsom urges Californians to ‘double down’ on saving energy amid ‘real’ blackout risk

Govt. Gavin Newsom urged Californians to save energy during the state’s scheduled Flex Alert from 4 pm to 9 pm on Tuesday, to reduce strain on the power grid and prevent outages. “We’re heading into the worst part of this heat wave and the risk for outages is real and it’s immediate,” Newsom said in a video. He asked people to pre-cool their homes before 4 pm, close their windows and blinds to keep their homes cool, avoid using large appliances and turn up their thermostats up to 78 degrees or higher after 4 pm

Spare the Air Alert extended through Wednesday

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has extended its Spare the Air alert through Wednesday, with ozone hovering at levels that are moderate or unhealthy for sensitive groups in parts of the Bay Area. People are requested to limit driving where possible and be aware of the health effects of exposure.

Here’s how the Bay Area records break down

Besides Fairfield’s all-time Bay Area high of 117 degrees on Monday, records were broken at airport sites including SFO, San Jose and Livermore. The downtown Oakland station also broke a daily record. Extremely hot temperatures were observed in the East Bay, where Livermore broke its all-time record high by hitting 116 degrees.

Livermore, Vacaville both could hit or exceed 117 degrees

While Livermore was cooler than Vacaville in the early morning, it had caught up as of 11:30 am, when both cities were tied at 102 degrees. Both have a chance to peak at 117 or even 118. Fairfield is likely to run between 115-117 on Tuesday, according to Chronicle meteorologist Gerry Diaz.

State experiencing ‘worst’ September heat event on record, climate scientist says

The historic heat event baking California is set to become the “worst” heat wave on record for the month of September, climate scientist Daniel Swain said Tuesday. “By some metrics, it might be one of the worst heat waves on record, period, in any month given its duration and its extreme magnitude, especially in Northern California and especially in the Sacramento region,” Swain said on Twitter. The NWS Sacramento office predicted Tuesday’s temperatures could break all-time record highs. Downtown Sacramento could see a high of 115 degrees, two degrees higher than Monday, weather officials said. In the Bay Area, Vacaville could hit 117 degrees Tuesday, according to Chronicle meteorologist Gerry Diaz. Read more here about how the heat wave ranks in California history.

Part of Northern California could be ‘even hotter’ on Tuesday

“Believe it or not, today could be *even hotter* than yesterday in some parts of NorCal,” UCLA weather and climate expert Daniel Swain tweeted. “Sacramento & adjacent areas now more likely than not to break all-time temp records in the 115-117F range. Many areas also saw record warm overnight temps last night.”

Stressed power grid declares first stage of emergency for the afternoon

The California grid operator pre-emptively declared an emergency for Tuesday afternoon and evening from 4 pm to 9 pm, when air conditioning loads are high and demand peaks. The order, announcing the first of three levels of emergency, will free up additional resources to help supply and shave off demand. Californians are requested to reduce power use during that late afternoon/early evening period as much as possible. Rolling blackouts are a possibility if savings are insufficient, as the grid is expecting record demand amid the heat.

Fairfield reached record 117 on Monday as temperature report revised upward

Fairfield temperatures got as high as 117 on Monday, not 116, according to a revised report by the National Weather Service. 116 — the original number — was a new Bay Area record, and 117 becomes an even more dramatic Bay Area record. Vacaville could tie that number today.

All eyes on Vacaville

The Bay Area city most likely to hit 117 degrees on Tuesday is Vacaville, according to Chronicle meteorologist Gerry Diaz. Livermore and Fairfield will also be hot, but both were six degrees cooler than Vacaville as of 10:20 am A delta breeze could knock a few degrees off Fairfield temperatures.

Bay Area all-time record could fall again today with 117 degree temperatures

Tuesday will be as hot, if not slightly hotter, than Monday. Chronicle meteorologist Gerry Diaz says more all time records are expected to fall. Livermore, Concord, Fairfield and Vacaville will be some of the Bay Area’s hottest spots and may contend with 116-117 degree temps this afternoon.

BART trains will continue running slower due to the heat

BART officials said Tuesday it will continue to run trains at slower speeds during the hottest hours of the day, according to spokesperson Chris Filippi. This slowdown may prompt delays on some trains.

Electricity-saving request in effect from 4 pm to 9 pm today:

With California power demand projected to reach all-time record levels on Tuesday, officials are urgently asking Californians to slash electricity use during the peak hours of 4 pm to 9 pm People are requested to pre-cool their homes to minimize air conditioning use during those critical hours, and use major appliances such as the dryer and dishwasher in the morning. Energy-saving efforts will be critical to help the state avert rolling blackouts, when power demand exceeds supply. The power-saving request is known as a Flex Alert; click here for more information.

Fire near Hemet in Southern California kills 2 people

Two people died and one person was injured in a wildfire that is rapidly spreading in Southern California, fire officials said Tuesday. The Fairview Fire in Riverside County sparked Monday about 4 pm, prompting evacuation orders and warnings in the area, Cal Fire said. As of Tuesday morning, the blaze had grown to 2,400 acres and was 5% contained. The fire is burning east of Hemet, about an hour and a half east of Los Angeles. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Baby rescued from hot car in Oakland

Oakland firefighters rescued an approximately 6-month-old baby who was locked in a car Sunday afternoon as temperatures reached 92 degrees, the Fire Department tweeted. “The baby is doing fine,” Oakland officials said. Officials urged people to never leave young children and pets unattended in vehicles at any time, but especially during a heat wave. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 21 children have died this year after being left in hot vehicles.

Spare the Air alert extended

Bay Area air quality officials extended a “Spare the Air” alert through Tuesday due to potential car pollution from Labor Day traffic and the blistering heat baking the region. Under the alert, people are encouraged to take transit, work remotely and limit driving, and to protect their health by avoiding outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day when air pollution levels are highest. Air quality levels were “moderate” in San Francisco, Oakland, Marin and San Jose on Tuesday morning, according to the air quality service AirNow.

Burning Man ‘exodus’ leads to epic traffic jam

People leaving the annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada’s Black Rock desert north of Reno were stuck in an 9-hour traffic jam Monday temperatures as reached the triple digits, according to festival organizers. The festival’s “exodus” continued Tuesday morning, though it appeared traffic was running smoothly again, according to the Twitter account Burning Man Traffic.

Sky sleeps in the sand under a hot mid morning sun at Ocean Beach on Tuesday, September, 6, 2022 in San Francisco, Calif.
Sky sleeps in the sand under a hot mid morning sun at Ocean Beach on Tuesday, September, 6, 2022 in San Francisco, Calif.Leah Suzuki

Heat advisory issued for Bay Area coastline

The National Weather Service early Tuesday issued a heat advisory for the entire Bay Area coastline, from the Sonoma County coast to the Big Sur coast. The advisory will be in effect Tuesday 11 am to 8 pm A previous heat advisory for interior parts of the Bay Area and surrounding region — such as Marin County’s coastal mountains, the San Francisco’s Bay shoreline and the Santa Cruz area — was upgraded Tuesday to an excessive heat warning, the NWS said. The excessive heat warning will downgrade back to a heat advisory on Wednesday and is expected to last through Thursday evening.

Bay Area school district cuts hours at three schools

Novato Unified School District will run a compressed schedule at Lu Sutton Elementary School, Novato High School and Hill Education Center, schools that have limited or no air-conditioning, during Marin County’s excessive heat warning from Tuesday to Friday. At the high school, each period will be shortened and the school day will finish by 1:15 pm

Possible storms next weekend

Tropical storm Kay is spinning off the southern coast of Baja California Sur, and is forecast to hit Baja as a hurricane by the middle of the week. Its remnants will bring plenty of moisture into Southern California. This moisture will help spawn scattered wet thunderstorms from San Diego to Santa Barbara, along with portions of Kern County and the Mojave, according to Chronicle meteorologist Gerry Diaz. The latest weather models are signaling that some of this remnant moisture will make it into NorCal next weekend as well. If enough moves in, Northern California could see wet storms as well. But if only sprinkles of remnant moisture move in, the chance for these storms producing dry lightning in the heat-strained forests of Northern California next weekend cannot be ruled out.

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