The record-breaking heat that toasted Utah’s capital city on Monday isn’t expected to last as more spring-like temperatures take hold later in the week.
The National Weather Service confirmed that Monday’s high of 93 degrees in Salt Lake City broke a record of 92 set for the date in 1996. It is also the earliest day in the year that 93 degrees has been reached, according to the NWS. The previous record for the earliest 93-degree reading was May 16, 1927.
The average high for May 13 is 71 degrees.
Temperatures also broke records Monday at the Utah Test Range, according to the NWS, where a high of 92 degrees topped the previous record of 89 degrees. That record was set in 2007. In Wendover, a 93 degree high tied the previous record set in 1936. Temperatures in Laketown, which reached 81 degrees Monday, also tied the Rich County town’s record, which was set in 1944.
However, the mercury is expected to dip to 84 degrees on Tuesday as a weak cold front moves through. Throughout the Wasatch Front, highs Tuesday were expected to range into the low to mid-80s — 5 to 10 degrees cooler than Monday’s readings.
Southern Utahns were down to T-shirts and shorts as the sunshine was expected to drive thermometers near 100 degrees on both days.
Larry Dunn, meteorologist in charge at the NWS’ Salt Lake City office, said strong south winds propelled an unusually warm air mass into the Salt Lake Valley on Monday, locking out cooler air sitting over the Great Salt Lake.
“They’re not windstorm-strong, just enough to keep the cool air over the lake from coming in today,” Dunn said of winds gusting to 20 mph.
But the broken record itself portends nothing for the future, although like many others before it, this summer is likely to be warmer than average.
“We don’t know what kind of summer it’s going to be. All the summers for a long time now have been above average,” Dunn said.
Frances Savington, manager of the Iceberg Drive Inn at 3906 S. 900 East, said the weekend’s heat wave temperatures was great for business.
“Oh my gosh, are you kidding? We had one of the biggest days on Friday and Saturday … we had a fabulous weekend,” she said.
The Utah Division of Air Quality projected air quality would be compromised with the high temperatures Sunday and Monday, and urged “yellow” spare-the-air actions both days in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties as ozone approached levels considered unhealthy for vulnerable groups — the very young, the very old and those with heart and lung trouble. Air quality was expected to return to healthy levels everywhere on Tuesday, said Bo Call, who oversees monitoring for the state.
“There’s a front moving through,” he said. “When that happens, it generally cleans things up, mixes things.”
Later in the week, the forecast calls for temperatures in Salt Lake City to keep dipping with the expected arrival of a cooler, wetter weather pattern. The predicted high for Friday is 74 degrees, for example, and 68 on Sunday. But such long-range forecasts are often revised.
The Intermountain Allergy & Asthma website listed mulberry, maple, sycamore and oak pollen levels as “very high” as the work week began.
Ogden expected a high of 88 degrees on Monday and 81 on Tuesday; Provo 89 and 85, respectively; Logan 87 and 77; Wendover 91 and 84; Duchesne 85 and 84; Cedar City 87s; St. George 98s; and Moab 88 and 91 degrees.
Tribune staffers Anne Wilson and Judy Fahys contributed to this report.
Ozone season just around the corner
Utah flirted with the summer ozone pollution this week, thanks to high temperatures.
Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, says the best way to keep tabs on air quality is to pay attention to pollution trends on the agency’s website and to track its effects. While federal regulations assume ozone is too high when it reaches 75 parts per billion, everyone responds to the pollutant differently. Experts note that people have varying tolerance to ozone, but that even those who are healthy can be harmed if they exercise heavily in high smog.
The Utah Asthma Program web page offers suggestions for dealing with high ozone, as well as a symptom-tracking tool. And the air-quality office posts up-to-the-hour pollution readings, and it even sends emails to those who sign up.
Records broken, records met
Location • Record • Previous record, year • Avg High
Salt Lake City • 93 • 92, 1996 • 71
Utah Test Range • 92 • 89, 2007 • 70-72
Wendover • 93 • 93, 1936 • 72
Laketown • 81, 81, 1944 • 64
National Weather Service