Hot, dry and smoky. That’s your forecast for northern Utah heading toward the weekend.
Blame it on the heat. Point a finger at the lack of significant rainfall. And as if you could — looking at valley haze prevalent in the region Thursday and which was expected to remain on Friday — don’t forget the impact of the West’s continuing, incendiary wildfire season as smoke drifts in from neighboring states’ blazes.
The National Weather Service certainly hasn’t, issuing a “Red Flag” wildfire danger warning for Utah itself, particularly for a stretch of Utah from Logan running south through Brigham City, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Park City, Provo and Nephi. That advisory was to extend into late Thursday evening, and with hot, dry and windy weather expected to extend into the weekend, fire danger, too, will remain high.
Northern Utah’s forecast calls for high temperatures Friday in the mid-90s, a mirror image of Thursday’s predictions. Winds of 10-20 mph, with gusts above 30 mph, also were expected in the afternoons.
Southern Utahns looked for more days under a baking sun with highs Friday around 100 degrees, the same as forecast for Thursday. There was a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms, but little rainfall was predicted from them.
With summer air inversions trapping automobile pollution and the smoke from wildfires prevalent, it should be no surprise that air quality was compromised as the weekend approached. The Utah Division of Environmental Quality was flying its “Yellow,” or unhealthy air quality flags for Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Weber and Box Elder counties. Only Uintah and Washington counties maintained “Green,” or satisfactory air quality grades.
Salt Lake City’s high temperature Friday was pegged at 95 degrees, the same as forecast for Thursday; Ogden looked for 93 degrees both days; Provo 94 and 96, respectively; Logan 94 degrees both days; Wendover 95 and 94; Duchesne 87 and 88; Cedar City 90 and 92; St. George 93 and 96; and Moab 96 and 98 degrees.