According to the National Weather Service, 36.5 million residents, or 98% of Californians, were under a heat advisory Friday as a high-pressure system roasted the state from Oregon to the U.S.-Mexico border. On Friday afternoon, an extremely fast-moving brush fire broke out in the Verdugo Mountains near Sun Valley. Fueled by light grasses, extremely high temperatures and a light breeze, the flames jumped the 210 Freeway and threatened homes, triggering evacuations.
“When we’re approaching all-time record highs, that’s very unusual,” said Steve Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The temperature reached 108 degrees in San Jose, breaking the city’s record for Sept. 1 of 101 degrees, set in 1950.
In almost 150 years of record keeping, it has never been as hot in San Francisco as it was on Friday.
Amid a brutal heat wave that has broiled California for a week while intermittently knocking out power to thousands and fueling more than a dozen wildfires, downtown San Francisco hit 106 degrees.
Woodland Hills reached 111 degrees Friday, tying its daily heat record set in 2007. It was 102 degrees in downtown L.A., but that failed to eclipse the record, set in 1950, of 110 degrees.
In Riverside, the mercury peaked at 112 degrees, breaking the city’s record of 111 degrees, set in 2007. Ramona was not far behind at 109 degrees, breaking its record, set in 2002, of 107.
Similar temperatures were reported across the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.
The heat wave marks the finale for what has ended up being the state’s hottest summer on record, UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain said.
In Northern California, school districts in Los Gatos, Novato and Orinda announced that students would be let out early Friday to dodge the worst of the heat. Outdoor festivals and youth sports leagues also canceled events through the weekend. Concord, Santa Rosa and Antioch, among other cities, have opened cooling centers for the weekend.
The statewide demand led the California Independent System Operator to issue its fourth flex alert of the year, calling for voluntary electricity conservation.
DWP officials advised residents to set their thermostats at 78 degrees or higher and to use major appliances before or after peak hours. They also said that turning off unnecessary lights would go a long way toward reducing the strain on the utility’s electrical equipment and overall power system demand.