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Record heat again pounds western U.S.; power grids feel strain

By
Don Jacobson
A Kansas City Royals fan reacts to the heat and long game against the Detroit Tigers at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on Wednesday. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI
A Kansas City Royals fan reacts to the heat and long game against the Detroit Tigers at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on Wednesday. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo

June 18 (UPI) -- Dangerously hot temperatures continued across much of the western United States Friday as another heat record was shattered in Phoenix and power grids were strained in California.

The U.S. West has endured brutally hot weather this week, with records falling such cities as Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Palm Springs, Calif., and Denver, which on Tuesday and Wednesday experienced the earliest occurrence of consecutive days with temperatures reaching at least 100 degrees.

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While thunderstorms were expected to cool things off in Colorado on Friday, elsewhere around the region the heat wave continued unabated.

In Phoenix, the mercury hit 117 degrees at about 1:50 p.m., marking a second consecutive day of record highs following Thursday's reading of 118 degrees.

The city also tied daily heat records on Tuesday and Wednesday at 115 degrees.

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In California, life-threatening temperatures also continued into Friday.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for a large area of northern California, including cities such as San Jose and Santa Rosa, warning of temperatures of well over 100 degrees.

"Temperatures will be well above normal," the NWS said. "While temperatures cool slightly on Friday near the coast, they will still be hot across the interior."

The latest warning came a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency due to the heat wave, and California ISO, manager of the state's power grid, extended a statewide "flex alert" asking consumers to conserve electricity during the evening hours, allowing worker to relieve stress on grids.

The state was also dealing with outbreaks of wildfires amid the searing heat. State fire officials reported eight wildfires ongoing in the state involving a total of about 1,500 acres.

Parts of the Midwest also continued to swelter on Friday.

In St. Louis, the city recorded its first 100-degree day in nearly three years as intermittent power outages struck parts of the city.

Electric utility Ameren, which serves 1.2 million customers in eastern Missouri and southern Illinois, reported around 1,500 homes and businesses were without power at 5 p.m.

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The NWS warned that dangerous heat is expected in the St. Louis metro area through Sunday with heat index values over 100 each day.

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