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California begins rolling blackouts as state faces worst heat in 70 years

As many as 2 million Californians were plunged into darkness over a four-hour span late Friday in the state’s first rolling blackouts since the 2001 energy crisis – and that was just day one.

America’s west coast is set to have its hottest two weeks in 70 years, putting even more strain on power grids after California imposed its first rolling blackouts since 2001.

Excessive heat warnings and watches stretch from the Pacific Coast inland to Montana, Utah and Arizona, according to the National Weather Service. Sacramento is forecast to be 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) by Tuesday. Pasadena could hit 108.

Excessive heat has caused fires in California.

Excessive heat has caused fires in California. Credit:

The sudden and largely unannounced outages in California are a stark reminder of the fragility of power grids in the face of extreme weather. Searing heat has gripped cities around the globe in recent weeks, including Brussels, Paris and New York.

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