Northern Utahns mopped their brows and braced for what could be several days of record-setting heat as the work week winds down.

Indeed, the temperature on Wednesday afternoon hit 105 at the Salt Lake City Airport, breaking the record of 104 set in 1973, the National Weather Service announced.

And on Thursday, Salt Lake City was expected to reach or exceed 103 degrees, challenging a record set in 2007.

Friday's forecast was for 102, just 1 degree off a 2007 record for the state's capital.

Sunny, mostly clear skies, little wind and no rain were not expected to ease the sizzling conditions.

"What dreadful hot weather we have," a sweltering Jane Austen once wrote. "It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance."

But even that 18th century English novelist's famed irony — if not the urge to strip down to bloomers for a dip in the nearest pool — might be tested in southern Utah: an Excessive Heat Warning was in place for Utah's Dixie from noon Thursday through 10 p.m. Friday.

Still, neither St. George's 108 high for Wednesday nor its 110 prediction for Thursday were to threaten records of 117 and 115 degrees. However, the 111-degree forecast for Friday will come close to a 1985 mark of 113.

Southwestern Utahns could look ahead to some brief relief Friday afternoon in the form of isolated showers and thunderstorms, but otherwise sunny to partly cloudy skies will prevail.

The air out there? Awful. The Utah Division of Air Quality rated Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Weber, Box Elder Tooele, and Washington counties as "orange," or unhealthy for sensitive groups. The rest of the state was little better, with "yellow," or moderate levels of particulate pollution predicted through week's end.

The Intermountain Allergy & Asthma website reported mold and plantain as "high" on its pollen index as of Wednesday, while grass, ragweed and linden were "moderate."

For more extensive forecast information visit the Tribune's weather page at http://www.sltrib.com/news/weather/.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims