03 Aug Blackouts paired with extreme heat
Blackouts paired with extreme heat pose a deadly combination
According to a recent study, in the event of a multi-day blackout during a heat wave, approximately half of Phoenix’s population would require emergency room treatment, leading to nearly 13,000 deaths.
While many people in the US currently do not fret over blackouts, as they tend to be infrequent and brief, the situation may change. Even in Phoenix, where scorching temperatures regularly exceed 110F, the power grid has managed to withstand the strain.
However, there is no guarantee of its resilience in the future.
Recently, the largest US grid, serving around 65 million customers from Washington, DC to Illinois, issued an emergency alert expressing concerns about maintaining adequate power reserves during peak air conditioner usage.
Federal data reveals that in recent years, blackouts have been occurring more frequently and lasting longer due to a combination of increasingly extreme weather related to climate change and an aging grid.
Following a power outage, the primary line of defense is usually privately owned small generators. While these generators are plentiful, they still fall short in keeping entire cities cool amidst the rising frequency of heat waves that have become the new norm.
It is evident that most US cities facing extreme heat waves are ill-prepared for the possibility of power failures.