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SALT LAKE CITY — Talk about a heat wave.
Temperatures at the National Weather Service's station at Salt Lake City International Airport neared 100 degrees yet again on Thursday. KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson said you might as well get used to it because Utah's capital is expected to flirt with triple-digit temperatures the next little bit, based on current weather models.
"Potentially, (we're) looking at a hot streak of triple-digits for the next seven to 10 days straight," he said.
What's causing the high temperatures? Most of it has to do with a high-pressure system set up just east of the Four Corners region. It's heading west toward Utah, where it is expected to last over the state for potentially over a week, Johnson explains.
The system will keep the clouds and precipitation from a low-pressure system currently over the Pacific Northwest at bay, warming up temperatures closer to 100 degrees. Johnson added that the system over the Pacific Northwest has, up through at least Thursday, helped keep temperatures just below 100 degrees in Utah's capital city.
It could place the city's record of consecutive days of 100 degrees or hotter in jeopardy.
Per the National Weather Service, which has tracked Salt Lake City's weather since 1874, 10 days is the city's record for consecutive days of 100 degrees or warmer. It was set in the middle of July 2003, ending on Pioneer Day that year.
- 10 days: July 15-24, 2003
- 9 days: July 14-22, 1960, and July 25-Aug. 2, 2016
- 8 days: July 20-27, 1931
- 7 days: June 27-July 3, 2013
Salt Lake City has recorded a series of six days in a row five other times, the last being between July 4 through July 9, 2017.
"It's really hard for us, in the Salt Lake Valley, to see consecutive days in the triple digits," Johnson said. "This hot streak could last through the middle to maybe end of next week."
Even if it doesn't reach triple-digits every day for the next seven to 10 days, Johnson said the forecast indicates it will get pretty close and there's virtually no difference between 99 degrees and 100 degrees. Temperatures have reached at least 95 degrees for the seven days leading into Thursday; the official temperature has exceeded 90 degrees on 15 consecutive days heading into Thursday.
The city has a much longer way to go to set records there. Salt Lake City's temperatures reached at least 95 degrees 25 days in a row last July, which wound up as both the city's hottest July and summer on record. A string of 50 days with temperatures reaching at least 90 degrees between July 18 and Sept. 5, 1967, remains the record in that category, according to the weather service.
Of course, Salt Lake City won't be the only place feeling the heat. St. George and Moab are among the other areas expected to have 100-degree days all through the weekend into next week, while most other spots across the state, including other areas within the Wasatch Front and northern Utah, are forecast to be in the upper 90s for the next week or more.
The change in patterns is also expected to put at least a temporary kibosh on some of the monsoonal moisture southeast Utah has benefitted from the past few days. Johnson said the moisture from storms, which even led to flash flooding in the Green River area on Wednesday, will dissipate heading into the weekend.
The mixture of hot temperatures, wind and low relative humidity is why most of western Utah is listed in a red flag warning for both Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service. These conditions mean that fire danger is high; similar alerts are expected beyond Friday if the forecast doesn't change.
In times of extreme heat, the agency recommends that people
- Try to stay in air-conditioning and stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Never leave children or pets in vehicles for any amount of time.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing.
- Avoid strenuous activity (especially during the heat of the day).
- Provide shade and water for pets.
- Check on neighbors.
Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online, at the KSL Weather Center.