Hot as a firecracker. That sums up both Utah’s weather and the coming Independence Day weekend — and forecasters are warning temperatures will rise to dangerous levels throughout the state.
What looks to be among the year’s hottest daytime highs, if not the hottest, are expected in the days ahead and through the Fourth of July weekend. Noting there were four heat-related fatalities in Utah last year, the National Weather Service is warning residents to take extra care while celebrating outdoors.
Never leave a child or pet unattended in a hot vehicle. Drink plenty of water. Schedule outdoor activities for cooler times of the day. If you go on a hike, pack plenty of water and take a map, compass or a GPS unit to avoid getting lost.
How hot will it get? Forecasters predict highs on Thursday will flutter around 100 degrees along the Wasatch Front, up a few ticks on the thermometer from Wednesday. Independence Day also will flirt with triple digits under mostly clear skies.
That’s hot, but in southern Utah the temperatures through the holiday will be downright searing: Thursday’s highs will top 104 degrees, a degree or two less than readings predicted Wednesday. Independence Day is expected to soar to 105.
There may be a wisp of relief late in the afternoon on Friday when a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms and rain showers was forecast.
The hot weather, combined with the parched conditions prevalent in southcentral and southwestern Utah, also brought a "Red Flag" wildfire danger warning. Effective through midnight Wednesday, the advisory applied to sections of the state stretching from Nephi south and west through Richfield to St. George, and running south and east through Bruce Canyon and Zion National Park.
The Utah Division of Air Quality did not have good news for the Wasatch Front, predicting "orange," or unhealthy Independence Day air quality for Salt Lake, Weber, Davis and Utah counties. Box Elder and Tooele counties earned "yellow," or compromised air quality grades, while "green," healthy breathing conditions were expected for Uintah, Duchesne, Carbon, Washington and Cache counties.
At least allergy sufferers were getting something of a break. On Wednesday, the Intermountain Allergy & Asthma website listed mold at "high" on its pollen index, while grass came in at "moderate."
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