By Janell Gore | South Kern Sol

As of August 31, California is in a “state of emergency” due to extreme heat according to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office. 

According to the proclamation of emergency, the National Weather Service issued Excessive Heat Warnings and Excessive Heat Watches California for August 31, 2022, through September 6, 2022. The state is experiencing heat over 110 degrees in some areas. 

A Flex Alert was called Thursday by the California Independent System Operator asking Californians to reduce electricity between 4 p.m and 9 p.m to reduce outages. 

“This is just the latest reminder of how real the climate crisis is, and how it is impacting the everyday lives of Californians,” said Governor Newsom. “While we are taking steps to get us through the immediate crisis, this reinforces the need for urgent action to end our dependence on fossil fuels that are destroying our climate and making these heat waves hotter and more common.”

According to a press release, the proclamation will allow power plants to generate additional electricity, permit use of backup generators to reduce the amount of energy they need to draw from the grid during the periods of peak energy demand during the heatwave, and allow ships in California ports to reduce their consumption of electricity from the grid. 

During the heatwave Northern California is expected to be 10-20 degrees warmer than normal and Southern California will be 10-18 degrees warmer than normal. 

More Flex Alerts are expected to be called during this time asking Californians to reduce energy between 4 p.m and 9 p.m, set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and avoid using large appliances and unnecessary lights if possible. 

The California Governor Office of emergency services (CAL EOS) website provides tips for preparing for a flex alert:  

  • Pre-cool your home by lowering the thermostat to 72 degrees
  • Close blinds and drapes to keep the heat out
  • Turn off unnecessary lights
  • Charge mobile devices, laptops, and medical equipment
  • Use dishwashers, washing machines, and other major appliances before 3 p.m

According CAL EOS children and pets should never be left in cars even when there is not a heatwave because cars can get over 100 degrees in less than ten minutes.

“Extreme heat especially endangers workers, children, seniors, historically underserved and overburdened communities, and people with underlying health conditions,” sated Newsom’s office in the release. 

The release provided links to information about workers rights and resources. Resources for Californians facing extreme heat, including safety tips and other information, can be found HERE

A map of cooling centers is available online however, according to the map there are no current cooling centers available in Kern County. 

The release stated that extreme heat is very dangerous and in come cases can be fatal. It is important for those at higher risk such as older age, chronic and severe illness, and environmental overexposure (e.g. certain jobs or homelessness) try to stay cool. The release recommends people connected to those with high risk:

  • Keep in regular contact with that person, ensure they can access air conditioned buildings (e.g. cooling centers, public buildings), and keep hydrated
  • Watch out for heat-related illnesses, especially heat stroke, and call 9-1-1 if needed
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothing. Wear sunscreen. Try to be less active during the hottest part of the day. Rest often and pace yourself
  • Don’t forget to protect your pets from the heat, and never leave a child or pet in the car, even if the windows are partially open.

The California Governor Office of emergency services also provides tips for preparing for a flex alert.