Watch the “whirlpool of fire” that formed in California 0:46 (CNN) — California authorities asked residents to save electricity on Wednesday between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., because it is expected much of the state will experience extreme heat through the end of the week. The California Independent System Operator issued a statewide Flex Alert on Tuesday, which is a request for residents to voluntarily save electricity. The move by the operator that manages 80% of California’s power grid comes as high temperatures are expected to increase demand and deplete available power supply, the agency said. Heat advisories are in effect in parts of California, with some remaining in effect through Friday. “In these alerted areas, temperatures can reach 109 degrees (Farenheit, 42 degrees Celsius). Temperatures this high cause stress on electrical systems due to overuse,” said CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford. The areas under heat advisories are primarily in the central part of the state, beginning as far south as Bakersfield and extending as far north as California near the Oregon border. “Several daily high temperature records are expected to be tied or broken throughout central/northern California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington on Wednesday,” the National Weather Service said Tuesday. The California Independent System Operator recommends that residents pre-cool their homes before 4:00 pm, avoid using appliances during the designated alert time, and turn off all unnecessary lights. The Flex Alert, which is the first issued this year, comes as the western US faces drought conditions intensified by the effects of climate change. As of last week, the entire state of California was under various intensities of drought, with more than 45% of the state experiencing two of the most extreme drought categories, according to the US Drought Monitor. The severe drought has been draining Lake Mead in Nevada and Arizona and Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona, the largest reservoirs in the nation, while the Colorado River is drying up. On Tuesday, the federal government decided that the Colorado River will operate in a Level 2 shortage condition for the first time beginning in January. Tier 2 shortages mean Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will have to further reduce their use of the Colorado River beginning in January. California will not yet see cuts in the water it receives from the Colorado River. CNN’s Ella Nilsen and Rachel Ramirez contributed to this report.
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