Causes of Most Recent Heat Wave


Taelyr Chamberlain, Reporter

For the past week, a surge of heat has been threatening California residents with temperatures as high as 116 degrees. The September 2022 heatwave has been one of the most deadly and prominent heat waves in California history, as many heat records have been broken and rolling blackouts have occurred in cities across the bay.

Essentially, long periods of heat are caused by heat domes. Heat domes are created when hot ocean air is trapped over a large area. This occurs when high atmospheric pressure forms above a region. As the hot ocean air is pushed down, it becomes compressed and the temperature increases. A “lid” forms and creates a seal which traps in the heat. As Pacific Ocean temperatures rise, heat waves are forecasted to become more frequent and unforgiving in the following years. 

On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) issued a statewide Flex Alert, in preparation for the peak of the heat wave which was forecasted to be Labor Day and the following Tuesday, fearing that the demand for electricity would exceed the supply. As of Thursday, September 8, 2022, the Flex Alert has been extended for the 8th day straight while high temperatures have been consistent and the demand for electricity increases. 

On Tuesday, September 6, a fire broke out in Placer county and as of Thursday night, it has yet to be contained. Cal Fire tweeted, “#MosquitoFire near Oxbow Reservoir, east of Forest Hill in Placer County is 13,705 acres and 0% contained. In Unified Command with @CALFIRENEU, @Tahoe_NF, @PlacerSheriff, and Foresthill Fire Protection District.” Residents of Georgetown, Volcanoville, and Bottle Hill were ordered to evacuate immediately as the Mosquito Fire continues to pummel through Placer and El Dorado counties.