Triple-Digit Heat Wave Baking Pacific Northwest Triggers First Rolling Blackout

Photo by Kathryn Elsesser. Getty.

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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The record-breaking heat wave sweeping across the U.S. Pacific Northwest Monday has caused rolling blackouts in some areas of the region, according to Bloomberg News.

Avista Corp., which provides electricity to about 340,000 Northwest homes and businesses, implemented rotating power outages Monday after parts of its system overloaded, Bloomberg reported. The outages have affected more than 30,000 customers across Washington and Oregon and are expected to continue throughout Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

This heat wave could also blow transformers, strain power lines and break down equipment, according to Bloomberg.

Avista has never “experienced this kind of demand on our system and this kind of impact to our system,” Heather Rosentrater, senior vice president of energy delivery at the utility company, said at a Monday press conference. “This is very unprecedented.”

Portland hit a record 115 degrees Fahrenheit Monday, and locations across the region also hit new highs. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was 108 degrees, and Lytton in British Columbia reached a new high since its last record in 1937. (RELATED: Competitor Faints At Olympic Trials Due To Extreme Heat)

Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, told Bloomberg it is unheard of to have temperature records in Portland and Seattle repeatedly broken on successive days. “That just doesn’t occur,” he said.