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Heat wave breaks 131-year-old Los Angeles record, power plant explodes

Staff Writer |
A high temperature record that stood for 131 years in downtown Los Angeles was broken on Saturday as the region suffered a scorching heat.

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The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that the temperature downtown hit a record high of 98 Fahrenheit degrees (36.6 degrees centigrade), beating the former record of 95 Fahrenheit degrees (35 degrees centigrade) set in 1886.

"A strong upper level high pressure system over the southwest United States along with locally breezy northerly winds at the surface will create dangerous record-breaking heat over much of the area again this afternoon into the early evening," said NWS in a heat advisory.

High temperatures away from the coast will range from 90 to 100 Fahrenheit degrees (32.2 to 37.7 degrees centigrade), including downtown Los Angeles.

"This is a dangerous situation with an increased threat of life-threatening heat related illness, especially to those without access to air conditioning. Power outages are more likely," warned NWS.

An excessive heat warning was in effect until 11 p.m. (0600 GMT Sunday) for some districts in Los Angeles County. Temperatures in Los Angeles should begin cooling on Sunday in some areas, but even so it remains hot in some locations, said NWS forecasters.

In response to the extreme heat, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks extended cooling center hours at some locations. Some libraries also served as cooling centers during regular hours.

A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADPW) plant exploded Saturday evening, cutting power service to an undetermined number of customers in the city.

According to a LADWP press release, the high voltage explosion occurred around 6:53 p.m. (0153 GMT Sunday).

Firefighters are battling an electrical fire after the explosion in the plant, which is the largest public utility providing water and power in the United States.

The 230 Kilovolt equipment, which carries high voltage electricity and distributes it to customers in the surrounding area, caught fire, the department said.

Although the fire only affected one portion of the station, power to and from the facility had been shut off, it said.

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