The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Wildfires, Record Highs Scorch California
"Friday's record-setting heat led to unprecedented peak electricity demand," the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said, according to CNN. 34,500 customers lost power, about 2.5 percent of Los Angeles customers.
That 2.5 percent was forced to endure the record-breaking heat wave without air conditioning or fans.
Downtown Los Angeles hit 108 degrees Fahrenheit Friday, breaking its daytime temperature record of 94 degrees, set in 1992. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) thermometers also recorded a record-breaking high of 111 degrees, according to CNN. The National Weather Service (NWS) also reported record highs on Friday of 114 at the Hollywood Burbank Airport, 117 at the Van Nuys Airport, 117 in Ramona and 114 in Santa Ana, The New York Times reported.
Further south, the San Diego NWS said Friday's temperature of 120 degrees in Chino might be the highest temperature ever recorded temperature by the Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) in the valley or coastal areas of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino or San Diego counties.
The record temperatures were a break from historical patterns that usually see Southern California reach its highest temperatures in September and October, according to The New York Times.
"The overall trend over decades to more intense and more frequent heat waves is definitely a signal of global warming," UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain told The New York Times.
The heat wave did no favors for firefighters combating the dozens of wildfires that have broken out in the Western U.S.
A fire that broke out in Santa Barbara County Saturday burned almost two dozen homes and prompted Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in the county, The New York Times reported.
On the California-Oregon border, one person died in the Klamathon Fire that started Thursday, the first person to die in this year's fire season, Reuters reported.
The National Interagency Fire Center reported that as of Friday, fires had burned more than 2.9 million acres, already surpassing the national annual average of 2.4 million acres over the past 10 years, according to Reuters.
However, California firefighters should get some relief in the form of cooler temperatures this coming week.
"Starting Monday we're going to see a gradual cool down, as we shave just a few degrees off each day until about midweek it gets to something like normal, in the mid-90s (Fahrenheit) inland and 80s at the coast," Jim Hayes of the NWS Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland told Reuters.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
That salmon sitting in your neighborhood grocery store's fish counter won't look the same to you after watching Artifishal, a new film from Patagonia.
Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.
The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.
By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia
In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."
Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.