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Extreme heat returns to parts of Utah to start Pioneer Day weekend

Samson Maurer and Mora Carter react as a fountain sprays them at the Draper City Splash Pad during a heat wave in Draper on Wednesday. Hot temperatures are expected across Utah heading into the Pioneer Day holiday weekend.

Samson Maurer and Mora Carter react as a fountain sprays them at the Draper City Splash Pad during a heat wave in Draper on Wednesday. Hot temperatures are expected across Utah heading into the Pioneer Day holiday weekend. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)


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ST. GEORGE — Pioneer Day weekend is coming in hot.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for parts of southern Utah, where high temperatures are expected to range between 100 and 110 degrees in and around St. George and Lake Powell for at least Thursday and Friday.

The current forecast indicates highs will continue to be close to or above 105 degrees in St. George through at least Sunday, as well.

"Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities," the alert states.

Another high-pressure system headed toward Utah is responsible for the next wave of heat. A system over the Four Corners region is slowly moving west along the Utah-Arizona border, according to KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank. While scattered monsoonal showers are expected across many parts of Utah Wednesday and Thursday, he said that will slowly change for the western half of the state by the end of the workweek.

"(The system is) going to nudge back to the west and then nudge to the north a little bit. That will dry out western Utah and many of the valleys," he said. "There will still be a few mountain thunderstorms but the majority of the rainfall will be confined to those higher elevations."

Southern Utah residents won't be the only ones feeling the heat. High temperatures are also expected to near or surpass 100 degrees across the Wasatch Front Thursday and Friday. Those temperatures are forecast to stay in the upper-90s for the Pioneer Day weekend.

The forecast is on par with the past few weeks for the region.

For instance, Salt Lake City remains on pace to have its hottest July and overall month on record. The city has maintained an average temperature of 87.1 degrees through the first 19 days of the year, according to weather service data. Highs have surpassed 90 degrees every day of the month so far and 95 degrees 18 of the first 19 days, topping out at 107 degrees on Sunday, which matched an all-time record for the city.

The current all-time hottest month record was set last July, which is when the average temperature ended up at 85.7 degrees. City records date all the way back to 1874.

The National Weather Service has a few recommendations to help people escape the heat and avoid heat-related illnesses this weekend.

  • Take extra precautions if you work or plan to spend any time outside. Wear light and loose-fitting clothing when outside and reschedule any strenuous activities for later in the day, if possible.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Stay out of the sun and find air-conditioned rooms.
  • Never leave children or pets in unattended vehicles under any circumstances.
  • Check up on relatives and neighbors who may be susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
  • Call 911 if someone is experiencing symptoms of heat stroke.

Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online at the KSL Weather Center.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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