Three Dead, Power Outages, In Day 8 of California Heat Wave

Scorching temperatures in Southern California entered their eighth day, sustaining widespread power outages and causing at least three deaths.

Temperatures on Tuesday were expected to hit 90 degrees in downtown Los Angeles and up to 105 degrees in the San Fernando Valley, according to the National Weather Service. Inland parts of San Diego County were expected to reach 104 degrees with coastal temperatures predicted to be about 15 to 20 degrees cooler, officials said.

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Firefighters found an elderly couple in their apartment in the San Fernando Valley's Valley Village neighborhood Monday, where temperatures of 106 degrees were reported.

The man and woman, whose identities were withheld until their family could be notified, did not have air conditioning, Battalion Chief Peter Penesch said.

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies in Twentynine Palms on Sunday found the body of Michael Cuhna on the Marine Corps base there. His dehydrated and sunburned friend, John Carbonelli, reported the Hesperia man missing a day earlier, according to a release from the sheriff's department. Carbonelli told police the two were separated while illegally gathering scrap metal from the base.

A preliminary coroner's report found Cuhna died as a result of exposure and dehydration.

Authorities in Lancaster and Pasadena were investigating the deaths of two women found Sunday. The body of Linda Burkhart, 53, was found in a car in Lancaster. Dorothy McGlothan, in her 80s, was found in her apartment in Pasadena. Both may have been heat related, authorities said.

Crews from several utility companies were working to restore power to thousands of people throughout Southern California left without it because of the overload, officials said.

"We're definitely putting out a call for conservation," said Vanessa McGrady, spokeswoman for Southern California Edison.

She said outages affected about 29,000 homes in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties early Tuesday.

Another 29,000 homes were without power in Los Angeles and near record-high demand was predicted, said Kim Hughes, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Water and Power.

Meanwhile, there were about 2,000 outages in the still-torrid and increasingly humid San Diego area, said Peter Hidalgo, spokesman for San Diego Gas and Electric.

Hidalgo said there was record-breaking demand for power Monday and officials expected a new record Tuesday, when people returned to work and school.

"Air conditioners that were off over the weekend might be back on so workers can be comfortable," he said.

Cooler temperatures in Northern California, however, eased demand on the statewide power supply, said Stephanie McCorkle, spokeswoman for the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state's power grid. She said any outages Tuesday were not the result of power shortages.

"We're not predicting any shortfall," she said. "But conservation is always prudent."