Extreme heat wave bakes Bay Area after being hit by rolling blackouts amid record-breaking temps

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Sunday, August 16, 2020
Extreme heat wave bakes Bay Area
From power outages to beach closures. Here's how residents are trying to find ways to cool down while also staying safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Bay Area is bracing for another day of scorching weather amid the coronavirus pandemic, with an Excessive Heat Warning still in effect.

RELATED: PG&E restores power for majority impacted by California's grid operator-directed power outages

The heat stressed the state's power grid to the limit with rolling blackouts in parts of the Bay Area on Friday. This comes on top of declining sales because of the pandemic is making business owners even more frustrated.

PG&E initiates rolling blackouts Saturday night

The Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) initated rotating power outages that impactedmore than 200,000 customers, the agency tweeted Saturday night.

This comes after the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) also tweeted Saturday evening that it wasn't planning a second night of rolling outages.

Get the latest on power outages here.

RELATED: What to do right now to prep for a planned power outage

Power was restored Saturday night to the 220,000 PGE& customers who lost power after a day of record-breaking heat.

State power grid operators declared a Stage 3 electrical emergency on Saturday and Friday due to increased electricity demand. It's the first time since 2011. The utility says because of the emergency, it was unable to notify customers in advance of the widespread outages and rolling blackouts.

On Friday, San Mateo County had 30,000 customers without power at one point. And in San Rafael, nearly 50,000 customers braved the heat with no power.

Bay Area sees record-breaking highs

It was a dangerously hot day across the Bay Area on Saturday as several cities hit record highs.

Gilroy reached temperatures of 108, Half Moon Bay hit 82 and Napa hit 103.

Take a look at the full list of record temperatures here.

Cooling Centers

To beat the heat, you can cool down at cooling centers that are open this weekend. Officials are reminding people it's important to follow the same COVID-19 guidelines like wiping down surfaces, wearing a mask, and only stay as long as you need to, and to double-check on hours with the cooling center.

Here's a list in alphabetical order by county and city:

Alameda County

Dublin Senior Center (Noon-8 p.m. Saturday through Sunday) 7600 Amador Valley Blvd., Dublin

Robert Livermore Community Center (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Fri and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday) 4444 East Ave., Livermore

Contra Costa County

Employment and Human Services: (1-5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday) 4545 Delta Fair Blvd., Antioch

Nick Rodriguez Community Center: (Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday) 213 F St. Antioch

Concord Senior Center: (1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday) 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord

Employment and Human Services: (1-5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday) 400 Ellinwood Drive, Pleasant Hill

Employment and Human Services: (1-5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday) 1305 MacDonald Ave., Richmond

Santa Clara County:

Campbell Community Center, Q80 (Roosevelt Red Room) (1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday) 1 W. Cambell Ave., Campbell

Cupertino Senior Center (1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday) 21251 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino.

Gilroy Library (1 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday) 350 W. 6th Street, Gilroy

Centennial Recreation Center (Noon-9 p.m. Mon-Wed.; noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) 171 W. Edmundson, Morgan Hill

Mountain View Community Center (1 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday) 201 South Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View

Santa Clara Senior Center (1 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday) 1303 Fremont Street, Santa Clara

Camden Community Center: (1 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday through Sunday) 3369 Union Ave., San Jose

Mayfair Community Center: (1 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday through Sunday) 2039 Kammerer Ave., San Jose

Roosevelt Community Center: (1 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday through Sunday) 901 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose.

Saratoga Library (1 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday) 13650 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga

Source: The Mercury News

Californians urged to decrease energy use

California's Independent System Operator is monitoring energy use. On Friday the state closed in on the state's maximum available capacity of over 48,000 megawatts per minute and on Saturday, the CAISO declared a Stage 3 Electrical Emergency Saturday evening due to increased electricity demand, the unexpected loss of a 470-megawatt (MW) power plant, and loss of nearly 1,000 megawatts of wind power.

The last time we saw this extreme use was in 2006, when the state set a historical peak at more than 50,000 megawatts per minute.

After Friday's alert was issued, usage started trending down slightly and is forecasted to peak lower today.

The last time the Bay Area saw continued rolling blackouts was some 20 years ago during the California electricity crisis.

A combination of a hot summers, higher wholesale energy costs, and serious financial problems with the utilities led to that disaster.

Rolling blackouts hit the Bay Area first in 2000. And by 2001, those blackouts spread to the entire


VIDEO: Heat stroke vs heat exhaustion: What's the difference and what are the symptoms?

AccuWeather has the details you need to know about heat stroke, a serious health condition, and heat exhaustion, which can precede it.

Mount Diablo State Park closed

In the East Bay, Mount Diablo State Park will be closed today.

Park rangers say because of extreme fire danger created by a combination of winds, low humidity, and high temperatures, the park will not be able to open.

This applies to all visitors including hikers, bikers, campers, and cars.

The park will remain closed until the fire danger improves, which could be several days.

Business owner fears weekend rolling blackouts

In one of the warmest parts of the Bay Area, rolling blackouts are exactly what small businesses do not need right now.

Restaurant owner Lisa Ahmad says customers have been dining on the patio of her Dublin cafe, despite 105-degree heat.

But she's worried. Business is down 20% because of COVID-19.

Rolling blackouts this weekend would be catastrophic for her bottom-line.

"Anything that needs refrigeration, you are going to lose. And it's going to cost $10,000 very easily, just like a drop of a hat," she said, adding that that cost could be the meat alone.

Parts of Alameda County were hit with outages. But fortunately, the power stayed on at Ahmad's café, where they hosted a Pakistan independence day celebration.

PG&E says it has restored power to thousands of Bay Area customers after rolling blackouts left many in the dark.

Big crowds expected at Russian River

In the North Bay, the temperature hit 104 degrees at Memorial Beach in Healdsburg.

People from all over the Bay Area headed for the Russian River to find relief.

Lifeguards expect crowds to be much larger this weekend.

Sonoma County is asking out-of-towners to avoid crowding the River because of COVID-19.

The county recorded 140 new cases Friday.

LIST: Our all-time favorite Bay Area ice cream spots that will get you through this heat wave

Pacifica mayor urges visitors to stay away from beaches

On the Peninsula, Pacifica is discouraging visitors from heading to the beach this weekend.

Mayor Deirdre Martin says overcrowding and parking problems are exactly what she doesn't want to see in the middle of the pandemic.

Pacifica is considering closing beaches for the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

With the weekend approaching, Pacifica State Beach is a destination for people in the Bay Area and outside to cool down when it's hot. But Pacifica's mayor is asking people to recreate at home instead. And it's considering closing on Labor Day weekend.

Vallejo power, water impacted by outages

Residents in Vallejo should have power and water, after the outages impacted water service. The City of Vallejo sent a tweet about service interruptions.

Customers in the area of Shadowridge and Bernham Streets were affected. The water department deployed back-up generators to help pump drinking water.

Watch the latest AccuWeather forecast and take a look at recent weather stories and videos.