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Utah Pioneer Day forecast? Drive on — and crank up the AC!
‘Red Flag’ warning » Parched, hot and breezy weather makes wildfire risk high.
First Published Jul 23 2014 07:23 am • Last Updated Jul 23 2014 09:11 pm

Imagine that on the original 1847 Pioneer Day, Brigham Young used H.G. Wells’ Time Machine to transport himself to July 24, 2014.

Sweltering in the Salt Lake Valley’s heat, he sees the climate-controlled LDS Church Office Building sparkling in the distance: "It is enough," he cries. "This is the right place. Drive on — and Good Lord, crank up the AC!"

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Prophetic advice, however you look at it. The worst heat will be in Utah’s Dixie, where St. George and environs expected high temperatures Thursday of 105 degrees or higher, matching Wednesday’s forecast.

It was to be only a degree or three lower along the Wasatch Front. Pioneer Day highs were to flirt with or top triple digits, the same forecast as that for Wednesday, when Salt Lake City hit 101 by early afternoon.

Indeed, in Provo, home to Young’s namesake university, temperatures approaching or exceeding 100 degrees might lead the pioneer leader to once more declare with meteorological equanimity: "You can either go to Provo or you can go to hell."

The National Weather Service, understand, was not offering such opinions. But forecasters did issue a "Red Flag" warning for Utah’s windy, tinder-dry western half, along with a section of central Utah encompassing Price, Manti and Richfield. The advisory for increased wildfire danger ran from noon through 10 p.m. Wednesday.

So, hot and dry, and according to the Utah Division of Air Quality, even breathing conditions won’t be all that much to celebrate come Pioneer Day. Most of the state, including the populous Wasatch Front, were rated "yellow," for compromised air quality. Only Cache, Washington, Carbon, Duchesne and Uintah counties earned "green," or healthy ratings.

The Intermountain Allergy & Asthma website listed only mold at "high" on its pollen index, while chenopods were "moderate" and all other allergens "low" as of Wednesday.

For more extensive forecast information, check the Tribune’s weather page at sltrib.com/weather.


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Twitter: @remims

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