SALT LAKE CITY — The all-time hottest temperature ever recorded in Utah history may be in jeopardy this weekend as the sweltering heat across the state continues longer than first forecast.
The National Weather Service warned Friday that temperatures in St. George on Saturday could approach or break the state's all-time record, which already belongs to St. George. On July 5, 1985, temperatures reached 117 degrees in the southern Utah city.
The agency tweeted that as of Friday morning, there was a 30% chance that the temperature on Saturday would match or exceed 117 degrees. Meteorologists explained that "small things," such as any sort of cloud cover, could cool the thermometer readings. Areas near Zion Canyon could also reach 117 degrees.
If the 117-degree temperature is tied or broken, it would join another all-time record in daily temperatures set recently. Salt Lake City matched its all-time record of 107 degrees on June 15. The agency projected a 16% chance of that happening before that record was tied.
The Saturday record watch comes as temperatures all across Utah are forecast to remain in the triple-digits through the weekend and heading into next week. The forecast highs Friday range from 98 degrees in Logan to 102 in Salt Lake City and Provo within northern Utah and the Wasatch Front, while temperatures are expected to exceed 110 degrees in places like Moab and St. George.
Highs are expected to reach 100-104 degrees across the Wasatch Front, northern Utah and central Utah over the weekend and into next week. Southern Utah places like Beaver, Cedar City and Bullfrog are expected to experience high temperatures ranging between 102 and 108 into Monday.
St. George is forecast to remain in the low to mid-110s through at least Monday.
With the prolonged heat, the National Weather Service on Friday afternoon extended its excessive heat warnings across Utah through at least Monday. The warnings stretch from Logan to St. George.
The agency advises that to stay cool, people should:
- Find air conditioning or cooling
- Avoid strenuous activities, rescheduling them for cooler morning or evening hours if possible
- Wear light-weight clothing
- Drink plenty of water
- Check on family members and neighbors, especially those most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses
- Never leave people or pets unattended in cars
- Watch for signs of heat cramps, exhaustion and/or stroke
Some communities, like Salt Lake County, have cool zones where people can go to cool off if they don't have air conditioning. The sites in Salt Lake County can be found here.
Full forecasts for areas across Utah can be found at the KSL Weather Center.
Utah's June was a heat record-breaker
The heat this weekend continues a trend carried over from last month. The National Centers for Environmental Information also on Friday confirmed that last month was the hottest June on record for Utah in terms of average temperature, average maximum temperature and average minimum temperature. The agency's statewide records go as far back as 1895.
National Centers for Environmental Information data shows that the average temperature across Utah last month was 72 degrees, exactly 8 degrees above the 20th-century average. It bested the previous record, set in 2016, by 1.1 degrees.
The average maximum temperature, or the hottest it got on average every day, was 87.5 degrees last month. That is 8.7 degrees above the 20th-century average and nearly one degree above the previous record in 2016. The average minimum temperature was 56.4 degrees. That ended up 7.2 degrees above the average and 1.2 degrees above the old record set in 2016. The agency's statewide records go as far back as 1895.
The National Weather Service previously confirmed that last month was the hottest June in Salt Lake City history. The weather service's records for Salt Lake City date back to 1874.
The past month was also the 28th-driest June on record statewide. With the data update, the agency lists the first half of 2021 as the eighth-driest and 11th-warmest first half since it began collecting statewide data 126 years ago.