A weekend heat wave is on the way for Utah, with temperatures expected to climb within a few degrees of setting records.
But you don't need to make climatological history to take care in the intense sunshine, the National Weather Service warns. Forecasters on Friday issued an elevated, "orange" heat risk warning for those with histories of hot weather sensitivity.
Highs generally will top triple-digits in northern Utah and soar beyond 105 degrees in the south's redrocks and high deserts this weekend. So, drink plenty of water; dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and lightly colored clothing; check on family, friends and neighbors — and never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
The Salt Lake and Tooele valleys expected highs to reach 101 Saturday, up 3-5 degrees from Friday. Sunday will be right around 100 degrees, though thunderstorms and scattered showers will move in during the evening hours.
Still, denizens of southern Utah guffaw in derision when hearing any complaints from their northern cousins. That's because Utah's Dixie will be hotter than the hinges on the gates of Hades, or close.
Temperatures Saturday will hit 108 in St. George, up 2 degrees from Friday. Sunday will be a little cooler, though at 105 degrees the difference will be as negligible as Kenny Wayne Shepherd's "blue on black, tears on a river [or] match on a fire."
There is this small comfort, though: the heat probably will not be record-breaking. Salt Lake City's 101 on Saturday will be 4 degrees shy of a mark set in 2007. St. George, even at 108 on Saturday, will be short of a 111 record set in 1998.
But it's still going to be miserably hot out there, reason enough to avoid prolonged outdoor activity. Here's another, though: the Utah Division of Air Quality predicts lousy conditions throughout the weekend, too.
Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Weber, Box Elder and Tooele counties all are "orange," or deemed "unhealthy for sensitive groups" — that means the elderly, kids, people with compromised heart and lung function and, really, anyone with a brain should plan keeping outdoor excursions short.
Cache, Washington, Carbon, Duchesne and Uintah counties are a bit better, though air quality in those largely rural areas still comes in at "yellow," or moderate for ozone and particulate pollution.
However, the Intermountain Allergy & Asthma website rated only mold as "high" on its pollen index as of Friday, so there's that. All other allergens were "low," or did not register.
For more extensive forecast information visit the Tribune's weather page at http://www.sltrib.com/news/weather/.