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Warning issued for southern Utah as state experiences bump in heat, smoke

Cars travel along Bluff Street in St. George on April 8. St. George is under an excessive heat warning Tuesday and Wednesday. The forecast temperatures the next few days will remind Utahns it's not quite fall yet. Meanwhile, higher smoke concentrations are expected in some parts of the state.

Cars travel along Bluff Street in St. George on April 8. St. George is under an excessive heat warning Tuesday and Wednesday. The forecast temperatures the next few days will remind Utahns it's not quite fall yet. Meanwhile, higher smoke concentrations are expected in some parts of the state. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)



SALT LAKE CITY — Labor Day may have marked the unofficial end of summer but the forecast temperatures the next few days will remind Utahns it's not quite fall yet.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued an excessive heat warning for parts of Washington County on Tuesday and Wednesday; meteorologists with the agency also said temperatures across Utah are expected to be 5 to 15 degrees warmer than average for the rest of the state the next few days.

The well-above-normal temperatures are the result of a high pressure system moving into the state, said KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman. The system results in more sunshine and less wind that helps the ground heat up.

The excessive heat warning covers the lower parts of Washington County, such as St. George, Hurricane, Ivins and Springdale, as well as Zion National Park. Meteorologists say residents should avoid strenuous outdoor activities the next couple of days with temperatures close to 110 degrees.

"Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities," the agency wrote in the warning. "Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances."

The warning comes after Zion National Park experienced an uptick in emergency calls tied to heat-related illness this summer. Heat-related illnesses can result in serious injury or worse. Park officials said a 32-year-old hiker from Wisconsin died from heat exhaustion last week.

The weather service also tweeted that daily heat records for Bryce Canyon National Park, Price and Wendover are most likely to fall Tuesday, but Thursday is expected to be the hottest day of the week in Utah.

Temperatures across the Wasatch Front are expected to remain in the mid-90s through at least Thursday before dropping back down into the 80s; highs will near 100 degrees in Moab, while temperatures will top out in the low-90s in northern and northeast Utah through at least Thursday.

Meanwhile, heavier smoke concentrations are expected in parts of northern Utah Tuesday and Wednesday also because of the high-pressure system. Weyman explained the smoke from fires in California is pushed north above the high-pressure system set over Nevada and then travels south into northern Utah and other areas east of where the system is located. He said air quality will improve some as the system moves east and a shift in winds cleans up the air.

"So it's likely the air quality may get a little worse (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) and then get a little better as this high kind of moves along," he said.

The Utah Division of Air Quality forecast calls for air quality levels to reach levels unhealthy for sensitive groups Tuesday through Thursday in Davis, Duchesne, Salt Lake, Uintah and Utah counties, as well as "moderate" elsewhere in the state.

Full forecasts for areas across Utah can be found at the KSL Weather Center.

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