Wild weather across the western part of the US has sparked one of the worst monsoon seasons in Las Vegas in a decade, while California and parts of the Pacific Northwest brace for a heat dome that could push power grids to the max.
Late last week, intense thunderstorms flooded parts of southern Nevada, including Vegas. Videos on social media show floodwater pouring into at least one casino while parking garages were transformed into rivers. This comes two weeks after another storm wreaked havoc on Sin City.
Las Vegas is flooding and this dude is LIVIN’ the dream— James T. Yoder (@JamesYoder) August 12, 2022
Aug 11, 2022 Las Vegas 🇺🇸🌧— nikola 3 (@ronin19217435) August 14, 2022
More Flooding on Las Vegas Strip again, wreaks havoc on streets and Planet Hollywood Casino pic.twitter.com/NqV4isvdDU
Clark County officials report the latest series of storms in the Vegas metro area has meant the wettest monsoon season in a decade. Besides the flooding, this is good news for the region suffering from extreme drought.
"That makes this the wettest monsoon season in ten years," the National Weather Service tweeted.
Meanwhile, near-record heat is expected this week in California's Central Valley and parts of the Pacific Northwest as a heat dome builds across the region, worsening the drought-stricken area and pushing power grids to critical levels.
Extreme heat returns as thousands of Central Valley students go back to school this week. Now on @KSEE24 Sunrise the triple digit temperatures that could challenge record highs. We're here until 7 a.m. Join us! #cawx #Fresno #CentralValley #California #backtoschool #backtoschool pic.twitter.com/jyQPQoim7d— Reuben Contreras (@ReubenKSEE24) August 15, 2022
California's Central Valley could record temperatures as high as 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Another pocket of heat will scorch western Washington.
Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster with the Weather Prediction Center, said Sacramento could hit 105 Fahrenheit by mid-week, and Redding could record 109 Fahrenheit.
"It is going to be well above average," Oravec said. "The heat will also eventually spread to the Northwest and Northern Plains."
A linger heat dome over California could stress power grids. Demand is expected to peak Monday at around 43.8 gigawatts and could even jump to 45.2 gigawatts by mid-week, said grid operator California Independent System Operator.
In anticipation of increasing cooling demand, Southern California's SP15 hub's on-peak power prices soared 29% to $149.70 a megawatt for Monday, the highest in nearly a year.
Gary Ackerman, an independent energy consultant who founded the Western Power Trading Forum, told Bloomberg that power-supply shortfalls are unlikely at this point.
However, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a regulatory body that manages grid stability, recently warned before the summer that power supplies in the Western US could be overwhelmed by soaring demand due to extreme heat. We might add decarbonization efforts of grids have made things worse.