Despite promises, California doesn’t know how many people died in record summer heat wave as firefighters fight for life on roofs and in cars
California’s deadliest heat wave in memory swept through the state on Saturday in temperatures near 100 degrees as firefighters rushed to rescue residents trapped in their homes.
A heat wave of biblical proportions began in San Diego on Thursday and by Saturday had blanketed parts of California with temperatures in the 90s or even above. The unusually high temperatures broke records set in August 2017 and January 2015.
The heat, coupled with torrential rain and strong winds, caused the water on state park dams to swell, threatening to cause massive problems for authorities trying to regulate the flow of water across bridges and along the state’s waterways.
For all the horror stories the media told about the state’s disastrous water reserves in the face of this year’s catastrophic drought and heavy flooding, it would be hard to name a hotter or deadlier event.
As the water levels in several parts of the state rose well over their thresholds for the summer, authorities in several northern bayous raised the alarm, issuing evacuation orders and warning residents to remain indoors.
In the city of Chula Vista, a county official warned of a “water nightmare” if residents did not heed the call to evacuate.
“We’ve been warned this is a potentially catastrophic situation,” San Diego County Supervisor Don Knabe said on Friday.
About 2.9 million people including residents in more than 1,100 rural homes were under water.
At least six people were killed in southern and eastern California, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Some of the victims in the county are believed to have perished in their vehicles. The Los Angeles Fire Department reported that one of the victims died after apparently jumping from his vehicle in a parking lot in the city of El Cajon. He died in the parking lot of a church in Carlsbad, and police are searching for a second person.
The LAFD also reported Monday that two fire trucks have been damaged in a fire at a gas station in a rural area in Riverside County, and several other trucks were involved in three other wildfires.
The firefighters spent most of their days