This is the full story and follow-up to photos posted online on July 11, 2018. Those images and snapshot can be seen here

Long cursed by power outages in the city, crews are busy trying to alleviate the problem by installing new wiring in areas of the city. These electrical workers were installing new lines on Grand near Mission to upgrade the current system. City officials say with the current heat wave the new wiring is crucial in preventing future area power shutdowns. Photos by Henk Friezer

During the recent heatwave where temperatures soared to an unprecedented 117 degrees, the ubiquitous power surges and outages struck areas of South Pasadena, according to city officials.

And the hot temperatures appear to be with us for the remainder of the summer, according to the National Weather Service.

City officials are in the middle of installing, new upgraded power lines that are less susceptible to going off-grid. This process is ongoing and will continue through the summer months, according to city officials.

Meanwhile, the downtown business district on Mission Street was especially affected over the July 6 weekend with several establishments losing power altogether and many struggling through surges.

In fact, South Pasadena fire officials estimate that over one weekend  calls for service increased nearly 80 percent.

“We average about seven calls a day,” Fire Chief Paul Riddle said during an earlier interview. “One weekend, we jumped to 25 calls for a two-day period.” Those calls were mostly involving power lines that were down.

The temperatures the weekend of July 6, 7 and 8 caused the city to open cooling centers at the Senior Center, 1102 Oxley Street, and next door at the Library. The city activates the cooling centers when the forecast reaches 95 degrees.

The center accommodated about 40 seniors for lunch July 6 as well as another 50 or so seniors in the evening as part of Friday Cinema. The Library took over for the weekend.

The important thing to remember, according to fire officials, is to hydrate.

Fire Chief Paul Riddle echoed those comments about hydration.

“I can’t emphasize it enough that you have to drink plenty of fluids during this extreme heat,” Riddle said during a telephone interview. “It’s so critical with these temperatures, especially for the elderly and children.”

The cooling areas are at the Senior Center, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Next door at the South Pasadena Library, the hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Moreover, forecasts oftentimes can be misleading as with the one slated for July 6. That day, the forecast was for the temperatures to hit 107 degrees. However, the temperature actually reached to 117 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Riddle also set out some other cautionary items during the heatwave, including to avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the rays are the strongest, reduce physical activity, wear a wide-brimmed hat and light-colored lightweight, loose-fitting clothes when outdoors, avoid hot, heavy meals, set A/C between 75 and 80 degrees, check on elderly neighbors and family and friends, avoid alcohol, use sunscreen with a sun protection factor or SPF of at least 15, and don’t forget about pets that need plenty of water and shade.

For more information, please call the Senior Center, (626) 403-7360 or the Library at (626) 403-7330.

Steve Whitmore
Author

Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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