Coastal storm cools California heat wave, dampens wildfire

Sep 9, 2022, 9:35 PM | Updated: Sep 10, 2022, 5:52 pm
A firefighter monitors the Mosquito Fire as embers swirl in the air near Michigan Bluff in unincorp...

A firefighter monitors the Mosquito Fire as embers swirl in the air near Michigan Bluff in unincorporated Placer County, Calif. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. (Stephen Lam/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

(Stephen Lam/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Southern California welcomed cooler temperatures and spotty rain Saturday as a tropical storm veered off the Pacific Coast and faded, helping put an end to a blistering heat wave that nearly overwhelmed the state’s electrical grid.

Thunderstorms were forecast for the Los Angeles region Saturday that could linger in mountainous areas on Sunday. But after Hurricane Kay made landfall in Mexico this week it quickly was downgraded to a tropical storm and weakened further until it largely disappeared, said John Dumas, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard, adding the scattered rain falling in the region is leftover moisture from a has-been storm.

“Is the worst of it over? Yes,” Dumas said.

In Southern California, cooler temperatures and moisture brought respite to firefighters battling the massive Fairview Fire about 75 miles (121 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles after sweltering heat pushed temperatures past 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in many locations this week.

The blaze has destroyed two dozen structures and threatened more than 10,000 homes and other structure. But firefighters have made progress and said they expected full containment on Monday.

Fire officials warned, however, that Northern California communities are still at risk for a heat wave and wildfire conditions and there is the potential for lightning Sunday in the Northern Sierra. In the foothills east of Sacramento, the Mosquito Fire spread to nearly 53 square miles (137 square kilometers) Saturday, threatening more than 5,000 structures in Placer and El Dorado counties and blanketing the region in smoke.

“We’re not seeing a corresponding drop in fire activity at this point,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Issac Sanchez said.

The National Weather Service forecast an end to the grueling heat wave in the Los Angeles area Saturday. A flood watch remained in effect in mountainous areas previously charred by wildfires through the end of the day, and there was the potential for coastal flooding because of high surf, Dumas said.

Officials in Southern California’s coastal cities posted warning signs and made sandbags available to residents fearing flooding. Minor flooding was reported in a beach parking lot and some local roads in parched desert communities around Palm Springs. In Los Angeles, about 28,000 customers were reported Saturday to have lost power, with more than half restored by the afternoon, according to the city’s department of water and power.

Some mountain communities east of San Diego reported several inches of rain by early Saturday, while low-lying coastal areas saw less than an inch.

In Orange County’s Huntington Beach, it was hot, muggy and drizzling Saturday as Aaron French, 30, played disc golf with friends. A midday breeze made playing more comfortable after a week of stifling heat and humidity.

“It’s been a wild, wild week of weather,” French said, while sending a disc whizzing through the unusually quiet park. “You just kind of have to accept the weather is the weather and live your life regardless of what is going on.”

September already has produced one of the hottest and longest heat waves on record for California and some other Western states. Nearly 54 million people were under heat warnings and advisories across the region this week as temperature records were shattered in many areas.

California’s state capital of Sacramento hit an all-time high Tuesday of 116 degrees (46.7 C), breaking a 97-year-old record. The state set a record for power consumption Tuesday as air conditioners whirred amid the heat and authorities nearly instituted rolling blackouts when the electrical grid capacity was at its breaking point.

Scientists say climate change has made the West warmer and drier over the last three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive. In the last five years, California has experienced the largest and most destructive fires in state history.

And the rest of the West hasn’t been immune. There were 18 large fires burning in Oregon and Washington Saturday, leading to evacuations and targeted power outages in Oregon as the challenge of dry and windy conditions continued in the region. According to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, there are nearly 406 square miles (1,051 square kilometers) of active, uncontained fires and nearly 5,000 people on the ground fighting them in the two states.

California firefighters said Saturday they have so far been unable to corral any part of the Mosquito Fire, which has prompted evacuations in communities including Foresthill and Georgetown.

Jonathan Richards, a church pastor, told the San Francisco Chronicle he moved to Georgetown a year and a half ago aware that wildfires had charred mountain communities, but didn’t want to think about it happening when he got the dreaded evacuation message this week. He took his two dogs and a cat but said he left behind nine chickens because he didn’t have a way to transport them.

“You never dream that it’ll find your little area of paradise,” he said.

The fire has covered a large portion of the region with smoke. California health officials urged people in affected areas to stay indoors where possible. Organizers of the Tour de Tahoe canceled the annual 72-mile (115-km) bicycle ride scheduled Sunday around Lake Tahoe because of the heavy smoke from the blaze — more than 50 miles (80 km) away. Last year’s ride was canceled because of smoke from another big fire south of Tahoe.

The Mosquito Fire’s cause remained under investigation. Pacific Gas & Electric said unspecified “electrical activity” occurred close in time to the report of the fire on Tuesday.

____

Associated Press journalists Julie Walker in New York, John Antczak, Stefanie Dazio and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles, Julie Watson in San Diego, Noah Berger in Auburn, California, Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, and Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington., contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arby's - LEHI, UT - OCTOBER 26: Exterior view of an Arby's restaurant on October 26, 2017 in Lehi, ...
Associated Press

Ex-Arby’s manager in Vancouver, Wash. sentenced after urinating in milkshake mix

A former manager at an Arby’s restaurant admitted to possessing child pornography and urinated into a milkshake mix
15 hours ago
FILE - Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, Apri...
Associated Press

Supreme Court keeping live audio as it opens again to public

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says it will continue providing live audio broadcasts of arguments in cases, even as it welcomes the public back to its courtroom for a new term that begins Monday. The justices began providing live audio of arguments after the court closed to the public in March of 2020 because […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

OU Health ceasing some gender care after funds threatened

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The University of Oklahoma Medical Center confirmed Wednesday it is planning to stop offering some gender-affirming medical treatments after state lawmakers threatened to withhold millions of dollars in federal funding earmarked for the University Hospitals Authority. The Republican-controlled Legislature, which returned for a special session on Wednesday to appropriate $1.87 in […]
15 hours ago
A CSX freight train runs through a crossing in Homestead, Pa., Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP Photo...
Associated Press

Rail unions emphasize positives of their tentative deals

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The two biggest U.S. railroad unions were working Wednesday ahead of key ratification votes to dispel rumors about the contract deals that averted a potentially devastating nationwide strike . The unions have been fighting rumors on social media that they would impose the deals on workers if they vote to reject […]
15 hours ago
Debris of a railway depot ruined after a Russian rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept...
Associated Press

US: Focus new Russia sanctions on oil revenue, arms supplies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Future sanctions over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine must focus on depriving Putin of what he needs to fund and fight the war: revenue from Russia’s oil and gas sales and access to global supply networks to replenish his military, two architects of the Biden administration’s sanctions campaign told lawmakers on […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

2 men arrested in robbery of pastor during church service

NEW YORK (AP) — Two men were arrested Wednesday for the robbery of a flashy Brooklyn pastor who was delivering a sermon in July about keeping faith when gun-toting masked men crashed the service and stole over $1 million in jewelry from the pastor and his wife. The men processed in Brooklyn federal court were […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Coastal storm cools California heat wave, dampens wildfire