Flex Alert: Californians urged to conserve electricity Tuesday

SAN DIEGO – A statewide Flex Alert was issued Tuesday urging Californians to conserve electricity from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. to ease demand on the system as a heat wave continues to send temperatures soaring.

The California Independent System Operator, or Cal-ISO, issued a Flex Alert for the CAISO Grid with intention to avoid power disruptions.

Cal-ISO official urged residents to make an extra effort to conserve energy during late afternoon hours, when air conditioners tend to be used most.

A Flex Alert is issued when the electrical grid is “under stress,” generally from increased power usage due to hot weather.

Cal-ISO officials urged residents to take steps such as:

— setting thermostats at 78 degrees or higher;

— close drapes and use fans to cool rooms;

— turn off unnecessary lights and appliances; and

— delay using major appliances until early in the morning or late in the evening.

Record-setting temperatures are forecast in Chula Vista, Ramona and San Diego, with the high temperatures now expected to last into the end of the week, the NWS said. As a public safety measure, an excessive-heat warning for the county’s inland valleys, western foothills and deserts was extended through 10 p.m. Friday after it was initially slated to expire Wednesday. A less serious heat advisory will be in effect for local coastal communities over the same period.

Several desert and inland-valley locales logged afternoon highs in the triple digits Monday, including 114 degrees in Ocotillo Wells, 111 in Borrego Springs, 110 in Valley Center, 104 in Campo and 105 in Ramona, according to meteorologists. The latter community tied its record high for the date, set in 1981.

The maximum thermometer readings in a few other local areas, according to the National Weather Service, came close to topping the 100 mark — 99 degrees in El Cajon and San Pasqual Valley; 98 in Alpine; and 96 in Escondido. Clouds, thunderstorms and scattered showers cooled things off for many inland communities later in the afternoon Monday.

Conditions were considerably more pleasant closer to the ocean, with temperatures ranging from the high 60s to high 70s near the waterfront, and up into the mid-80s a bit farther east.

The hot spell, a byproduct of a “goliath” high-pressure system moving south from northern to southern Nevada, reached San Diego County’s deserts on Sunday.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, record highs are expected in Chula Vista, Ramona and San Diego, forecasters said. Those in the east county should not expect the same rain that cooled things down Monday evening, as the location of the high-pressure system will decrease the chances of thunderstorms Tuesday and Wednesday.

Due to the extreme heat, numerous public schools across the county will be on minimum-day schedules Tuesday, officials said.

The weather should be slightly cooler from Thursday into the weekend, though temperatures will remain well above average for this time of year, the NWS advised.

The agency reminded the public to never leave children, seniors or pets unattended in cars; to drink more water than usual and avoid alcohol, sugar and caffeine; to wear lightweight and light-colored clothing and wide-brimmed hats outdoors; and to take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.