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Salt Lake breaks summer record; heat forecast for Labor Day weekend across Utah

Kristy Nielsen drinks water while flagging traffic for Tempest Enterprises on 1700 South near 300 West in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to hover around 100 degrees in Salt Lake this week, potentially breaking records.

Kristy Nielsen drinks water while flagging traffic for Tempest Enterprises on 1700 South near 300 West in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to hover around 100 degrees in Salt Lake this week, potentially breaking records. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)



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SALT LAKE CITY — This past meteorologic summer, which came to an end on Wednesday, was Salt Lake City's hottest in 148 years of record-keeping, the National Weather Service confirmed on Thursday.

The average temperature for the months of June, July and August at the Salt Lake City International Airport — where the official city temperature is recorded — ended up being 81.5 degrees, besting the previous record of 80.9 degrees set in 2017 and matched last year. This summer's temperatures were bolstered by a record-breaking July average temperature and 27 days of triple-digit heat over the season, beating the previous record of 21 days.

And the heat isn't dying down in Salt Lake City or the rest of Utah as meteorological fall begins.

The weather service issued an excessive heat warning for lower-elevation areas in Washington County, like St. George, Hurricane and Ivins, that goes in effect at noon Thursday and will remain in place until 8 p.m. Monday. Temperatures up to 110 degrees are expected daily throughout the Labor Day weekend.

Similar alerts cover a wide swath of the West, including massive chunks of Arizona, California and Nevada. Heat advisories are also in place in parts of Idaho, Oregon and Washington as the result of a "heat dome" that has set up over the region.

"(There are) extra hot temperatures all over West," said KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank, noting highs of 115 degrees by Palm Springs, California, and 114 degrees at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada on Wednesday.

Even areas where heat-related alerts have not been issued are experiencing high temperatures near 100 degrees, like Salt Lake City.

Eubank explained that the massive high-pressure system has essentially split into two systems, which is pushing monsoonal moisture back to the parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico, where the storms originate, instead of the storms moving up into Utah. This is also keeping clouds out, allowing temperatures to heat up to levels typically experienced in July.

The hot conditions are expected to linger in Utah into next week.

This includes possible triple-digit heat in Salt Lake City through at least the middle part of the week. Salt Lake City has only reached 100 degrees in September three times since the weather service began tracking the city's weather in 1874. The current forecast indicates that it may reach or surpass 100 degrees during the first seven days of the month this year.

Highs are expected to near or reach triple-digits in other parts of the Wasatch Front — from Ogden to Provo — over the holiday weekend, as well. Most of northern, central and eastern Utah are expected to experience high temperatures in the upper 90s, while Park City is forecast to have high temperatures in the upper 80s or low 90s throughout the long weekend and into next week.

"This pattern is with us for the next seven days," Eubank said on Wednesday. "This is going to be a stretch that's extra hot."

The weather service advises the same safe outdoor practices while out in the heat, regardless if there is a heat warning.

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

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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