2020 was Salt Lake City’s warmest August in 146 years of data collecting

Jarred Franz, walks with his dog Buster in the water of Little Cottonwood Creek in Murray Park in Murray on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020.

(Scott G Winterton, KSL, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A last-day cooldown couldn’t stop 2020 from becoming the warmest August on record in Salt Lake City.

August 2020’s average temperature was 83.1 degrees — about 0.4 degrees ahead of the previous record set in 2013, according to National Weather Service's preliminary climate data and climate books. The average maximum temperature was 96.5 degrees, which also broke the previous record of 95.7 degrees set in 1967.

The average minimum temperature was 69.6 degrees, which falls second behind the record of 70.8 degrees set in 2013.

It’s not too surprising that the record was broken, given that two heat waves during the month caused daily records to fall not just in Utah’s capital city but across the Beehive State. New record-high temperatures were recorded at the National Weather Service’s Salt Lake City International Airport Aug. 1-2 and Aug. 17-19. Temperatures reached over 100 degrees on all five of those days.

The August 2020 weather records continue what has been another wacky year in Salt Lake City and Utah weather. Other oddities include the city experiencing the third-driest spring on record following an average to slightly-above-average snowpack total statewide during the winter. In addition, June (1.9 inches) remains the clubhouse leader for the highest precipitation total for any month this year in Salt Lake City, despite it being historically its third-driest month of the year.

On top of all of that, the warmest August on record for Salt Lake City ended with below-average temperatures. The average temperature for August is 77 degrees, according to the weather service climate book. The average temperatures Sunday and Monday were 76 and 66 degrees, respectively. While the highest temperature recorded in the month was 105 degrees at the beginning of the month, the lowest was 53 degrees at the end of the month.

Monday also closed the books on meteorological summer. The National Weather Service tweeted that the average temperature for the summer (June, July and August) was 78.2 degrees, which was ninth-warmest on record.

The summer's average maximum temperature was 13th warmest on record, at 91.4 degrees, and the average minimum temperature was 64.9 degrees — good for 11th warmest on record. Thanks to the June’s abnormally high precipitation totals, the city collected 2.26 inches of precipitation, which can be viewed as either 59th-wettest or 87th-driest on record.

Tuesday marks both the beginning of the meteorological autumn and the final month of the 2020 water year.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center projected a higher chance for above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation in Utah this fall.

As for the water year, Salt Lake City’s cumulative total heading in September is 10.77 inches, which is 4.12 inches below the average for this time of the year. Should no precipitation be recorded in September, the year 2020 will end up as the 14th-driest year on record.

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Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.


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