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Relief in sight as California continues to swelter
SoCal Heat CARS101 8022310
Thousands hit the relative comfort of the beach at Santa Monica, Calif., as a crackling heat wave sent the mercury bubbling into triple digits again Friday, June 20, 2008. In parched eastern deserts where oven-like conditions are the summer routine, to urban neighborhoods unaccustomed to temperatures in the triple-digits, Southern Californians sought ways to keep cool. Temperatures in nearby Van Nuys reached 109 degrees in the early afternoon and soared above 100 degrees from the Central Coast southwest across the valleys of metropolitan Los Angeles and east to the deserts. - photo by Associated Press
    LOS ANGELES — A blistering heat wave persisted across much of California on Saturday and kept energy demand high, while forecasters gave hope that the misery might let up soon.
    A new round of power failures sent repair crews back into the field Saturday, just as power was restored to almost all the 8,000 customers blacked out the day before.
    About 4,800 customers lacked power late Saturday afternoon, said Terry Schneider, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
    ‘‘As the heat increased, we were having more and more trouble maintaining the level of customer demand,’’ Schneider said.
    The city’s power grid could get some relief starting Sunday, when the heat was expected to start abating. The National Weather Service said temperatures were expected to cool by at least 5 degrees.
    The mercury surged up and down the state on Saturday: It was 95 degrees in San Jose, 105 in San Diego, 107 in Burbank and 107 in San Luis Obispo. A record high was recorded at Long Beach Airport, where the mercury hit 100 degrees.
    Wildfires burned across California on Saturday, and firefighters feared additional blazes because of tinder-dry conditions after the driest spring on record.
    The heat wave has been caused by northeasterly wind preventing sea breezes from penetrating a high-pressure system that has settled over the West.
    At least one death has been linked to the heat, a 77-year-old woman who apparently left her car near the California-Arizona line south of Lake Havasu, Ariz., on Monday in search of her elderly husband, who was hospitalized for treatment of burns. Temperatures hit 116 in the area that day.
    Associated Press writers Allison Hoffman in Los Angeles, Malia Wollan in San Francisco and Don Thompson in Sacramento contributed to this report.

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