As temperatures approach 100, urban surfaces can make the heat even more present


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SALT LAKE CITY — When temperatures approach and reach triple digits, heat captured and reflected by surfaces can make urban conditions sweltering.

That was evident Monday as visitors to downtown Salt Lake City described the conditions.

"You step out of the car and it just whacks you in the face," said Devon Bollin. "It boils right in your face. It just rises up from the ground almost."

Ryan Apostolo felt it as well, noting how the intense sunshine and heat seemed to radiate.

"It's reflecting onto me and I'm having to squint everywhere," he said. "It just feels more present because you see it more."

A KSL-TV crew utilized an infrared thermometer to gauge surface temperatures and found them ranging around 119 degrees for concrete, 128 degrees for asphalt, and up to 140 degrees for metal surfaces.

"If it's 100 degrees outside, the surfaces of the asphalt can get to 130 and that will increase the effects of heat exhaustion," said Unified Fire Authority paramedic Cody Rempfer.

First responders said the extreme heat posed a potential hazard because heat-related illnesses can strike in as little as 20 minutes.

"You'll start to lose electrolytes through your body," Rempfer said. "Later signs of dehydration or heat-related illnesses will mean the loss of the ability to (sweat) and we have an ongoing issue from there."

A KSL-TV crew uses an infrared thermometer to gauge surface temperatures in Salt Lake City Monday.  Temperatures ranged from around 119 degrees for concrete, to 128 degrees for asphalt, and up to 140 degrees for metal surfaces.
A KSL-TV crew uses an infrared thermometer to gauge surface temperatures in Salt Lake City Monday. Temperatures ranged from around 119 degrees for concrete, to 128 degrees for asphalt, and up to 140 degrees for metal surfaces. (Photo: Winston Armani, KSL-TV)

Rempfer urged people to seek shade as often as possible and to stay hydrated with water and drinks that boost electrolytes.

He also encouraged people to keep a closer eye on family members if they are engaged in strenuous activities during the middle of the day.

"It was just really, really hot so I think the more concrete, of course, it definitely makes a difference," observed Michelle Pena as she walked downtown.

Bollin shrugged and said Utah's heat was still not "Missouri heat."

"It can be a lot worse with humidity," Bollin said. "We do have it fairly good here, all things considered."

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Andrew Adams
Andrew Adams is an award-winning journalist and reporter for KSL-TV. For two decades, he's covered a variety of stories for KSL, including major crime, politics and sports.

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