Utah forecast: 'Long duration' heat wave will bake state
A "long duration heat wave" that will roll into Utah this week has prompted the National Weather Service to warn of the potentially life-threatening risk of heat-related illness.
Temperatures will soar into the triple digits well above 100 degrees in some locales at least through Tuesday.
Christine Kruse, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said the heat wave is a result of a high pressure system moving into the area beginning Thursday.
Predicted high temperatures in Salt Lake City will reach 102 degrees Friday through Sunday, 101 on Monday and 100 on Tuesday.
St. George will be blistering hot, with high temps remaining above 110 degrees Friday through Tuesday. It won't cool off much at night either: On Friday night, the predicted low is 82 degrees.
Even Cedar City will bake, with an expected high of 101 on Saturday and 100 on Sunday. The coolest day should be Tuesday at a sweltering 98.
The National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the western two-thirds of Utah through the weekend, predicting near-record temperatures, north to south.
On average, the forecasted high temperatures will be roughly 10 degrees higher than usual for June in Utah. The average maximum high in June in Salt Lake City, for example, is 88 degrees. Low temperatures will also be significantly above average: 72 to 74 degrees is expected in Utah's capital city, compared to the average of 58.
Forecasters say the high pressure will dominate weather patterns over Utah and other western states well into next week.
In a recorded weather briefing issued Tuesday, Kruse noted that it's likely temperature records will be broken during the heat wave, and she offered a smattering of existing records:
• The record high for Salt Lake City on June 29 is 104 degrees, only 2 degrees higher than what forecasters expect this weekend.
• In St. George, the record high for June 29 is 114, just 1 degree higher than predicted.
Kruse also mentioned several safety precautions and suggestions for dealing with the heat, including knowing the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion; checking on the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions who are at more risk of heat-related illness; drinking plenty of water or other non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages; and never leaving children or pets in parked vehicles.
The coming heat and low runoff from this winter's snowpack led Salt Lake City Wednesday to urge residents to avoid water waste, including over-watering lawns and landscape. Available surface water run-off and ground water sources are being maximized but a "dismal" stream flow forecasts is likely to lower the water supply to 85 percent of normal.
"Last year, we were able to carry over a portion of our water allocation and save it in our reservoirs in the event of another year of below average snowpack," said a news release quoting Salt Lake City Public Utilities Director Jeff Niermeyer. "This year's snow levels means that it is important to maintain that goal of reserving water for future need, should this pattern of low snow fall and runoff continue into next year."
There's some good news about the heat wave, though: The Utah Division of Air Quality notes that the hot air we breathe at least will be healthy; "green" air quality ratings ruled into the weekend.
And while we gasp between draughts of cold beverages, allergen levels will be down, too: the Intermountain Allergy & Asthma website rates only grass pollen at "moderate" levels, with other categories "low."
Still, there will be no denying the heat. Ogden looked for 100 degrees on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; Provo 101, 102 and 101, respectively; Logan, 99 all three days; Wendover 101, 101 and 102; Duchesne 95, 95 and 93; and Moab, 104, 103 and 103 degrees.