Summer heat waves could cause more blackouts than ever. An expert explains the potentially deadly trend.

Source(s): CBS News, CBS Corporation

By Elizabeth Elkind

Heat waves across parts of the United States are becoming increasingly common as global temperatures rise. The alarming trend threatens to put more pressure on electrical grids that are not ready for the increased strain — and the results could be potentially deadly.

"In every dimension we can measure, heat waves are increasing over the last 10 to 20 years," School of City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology researcher Brian Stone Jr., Ph.D. said on CBSN Thursday. "We know there's a relationship between heat waves and energy demand, and just hot weather in the summer, and so we're finding that a disproportionate number of blackouts are happening."

[...]

Stone and a group of other researchers conducted a study on the growing danger of blackout events that coincide with extreme weather. According to their data, blackouts and electrical grid failures have spiked 60% compared to the previous five-year period.

[...]

"That really raises questions around, what is the level of preparedness for what is a very high health risk?" Stone questioned. "This is not decades into future — this is this summer." 

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