Climate

Southern California Heat Wave Forces Schools To Cancel Outdoor Activities

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ CHRIS CARLSON

Two paddle boarders cool off in the water during the ongoing Southern California heat wave, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Following an excessive heat warning, the Los Angeles Unified School District cancelled outdoor sporting activities for Monday and Tuesday, while over 100 schools in San Diego had shortened days to protect students from high temperatures. Around 120 schools in the San Diego Unified School District do not have fully implemented air conditioning. The LAUSD’s decision to cancel all outdoor athletics could continue into Wednesday.

Trent Cornelius, the LAUSD’s coordinator for interscholastic activities, told the Los Angeles Daily News that such cancellations happen approximately once or twice a year. A total of 23 matches were cancelled, and practices for other outdoor sports were either cancelled or postponed. While its temperatures did not reach Los Angeles’ levels, the Long Beach Unified School District also cancelled all outdoor games through Wednesday.

These decisions are the result of a heat wave that has gripped Southern California since last week. Due to high levels of humidity, Tuesday’s heat value index is between 100 and 110 degrees. Over the weekend, temperatures in Los Angeles reached the high 90s and went up to the low 100s in the surrounding San Fernando Valley, while temperatures in the San Diego area also reached into the 100s.

On Monday, the temperature in the San Fernando Valley hit 106, while downtown Los Angeles and San Diego were 93 and 97 degrees, respectively. The average temperature for September in Los Angeles is around 73 degrees.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said that consumers set a record for energy use and are expecting the record to be broken again today. The previous largest energy demand on a single day in Los Angeles was in September 2010 when temperatures in downtown Los Angeles reached 113 degrees. On Monday, temperatures only reached 98 degrees. Through Sunday and Monday, the LADWP said that over 6,000 residents lost power, due to overheated equipment. The LADWP general manager, Marcie Edwards, said that consumers need to conserve their energy use through actions like avoiding the use of large appliances and setting air conditioning to 78 degrees.

Brett Albright, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said that the current temperatures in Los Angeles are about 15 degrees higher than average. He said that autumn heat waves are not unheard of in the region; temperatures in October and November have reached 100 degrees in the past. While heat waves are common in Los Angeles, temperatures throughout the state have been climbing.

Earlier this week, climate scientists announced that January-August 2014 were California’s warmest first eight months of a year since data collection began in 1895. The average temperature for the 8 month period, 62.6 degrees, was four degrees warmer than the 20th century average for the same span of time. California’s increased temperatures, and the drought that has been accompanying them, have been linked to global warming. Climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck said that higher temperatures could cause more and longer droughts, including possibly a decade-long “megadrought.”

Amelia Rosch is an intern at ThinkProgress.