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Summer arrives with heat wave
heat wave

Tuesday was the first day of summer and to mark it, Mother Nature is rolling out the first heat wave of the year featuring five consecutive days of 100-degree plus days.

The National Weather Service has a heat advisory in effect through the end of Wednesday, as temperatures around the Valley could reach 109 degrees.

Daily temperatures in Turlock are expected pass the century mark through the weekend, the highest is forecasted to be Friday at 105 degrees.

It is expected to dip down to a high of 99 degrees by Tuesday.

The highs will stay in the mid to high 90s through the 4th of July weekend.

To escape the heat, you’ll have to head to the coast or the Sierra crest.

San Francisco is not expected to breach 70 degrees through Saturday. It will be a tad warmer in Santa Cruz with the high reaching into the mid-70s.

Yosemite Valley at 3,966 feet won’t offer much of a respite. The highs there are expected to be in the high 80s and low 90s until Sunday when it may get as hot as 101 degrees.

Sonora Pass at 9,623 feet will top off in the mid-70s. The tradeoff is on Thursday, Friday and Saturday there is a change of afternoon thundershowers.

This week will be the first extended heat wave test of California’s precarious power grid.

It also will be the first heat wave where peak demand pricing is in effect Monday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. when the temperature is at the highest as is power demand.

The California Public Utilities Commission pushed PG&E and other utilities to up the kilowatt hour cost during peak hours in a bid to prevent heavy demand from forcing power outages.

In the San Joaquin Valley, air conditioning makes up the lion’s share of summer energy consumption.

New rate plans increase the price of electricity during peak hours from 4 to 9 p.m. Off-peak hours from 9 p.m. to 4 p.m. have lower rates. The peak pricing applies to use Monday through Friday and only a few holidays.

Peak power demands during heat waves and extremely hot days such as the 103-degree high forecast for today push available supplies to the limit last summer in California

Even without a blistering heat wave during peak use hours this summer between 4 and 9 p.m. weekdays, models cited by the CPUC, California Energy Commission, and the California Independent System Operator show the Golden State has a solid chance of coming up short 1,700 megawatts.

Based on historic use, power may need to be cut to 1.3 million California households. That translates roughly to 4 million people or a tenth of all Californians possibly being without electricity.

The situation was not created by PG&E or other power providers.

Instead, it is by the inability for the regulatory mandated shift to green power to keep up with demand.

The three agencies have noted if wildfires, a heat wave, drought conditions, smoky/cloudy skies, and winds all align the shortfall could easily hit 5,000 megawatts. That translates into 3.75 million homes.

The rates charged are higher during the peak period in an effort to encourage consumers to shift their electric load to off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper.

Regulations dictate 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045 with the attached benchmark of being 60 percent by 2030.

The state has pushed hard to force the plug to be pulled on additional carbon-based power as well as nuclear power to the tune of 6,000 megawatts by 2025.


Where to stay cool

Those seeking relief from the heat have at least two options in Turlock.

The Turlock Library is air conditioned and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The library is closed on Friday and Sunday. It is located at 550 Minaret Ave.

The Turlock Gospel Mission Day Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is located at 432 S. Broadway.

— Dennis Wyatt contributed to this report.