Heat Wave Taking Toll on Utahns

Heat Wave Taking Toll on Utahns

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John Daley ReportingThe region's intense heat has Utahns scrambling to cope with it. State officials issued more warnings today about air quality and electricity.

It seems on virtually every front the heat is having an impact on every day life. This heat wave impacts just about every part of every day life: land, air, and water, not to mention energy.

The impact on the land is easy enough to see by looking at the wildfires we have right now. The Incident Meteorologist working on the Farmington fire says the weather conditions are making parts of the state very vulnerable to fire and making things tough on those battling the blaze. Firefighters have had to face hot temperatures and very low humidity, which makes fuels easier to burn.

Meantime, officials are urging folks to save power, saying it could save us from higher electric rates later on.

Dave Eskelsen, Utah Power: "And cooling with your air conditioner or your refrigerator uses half of all of your homes energy needs so you should look to use your drapes and other things to keep your house cool."

Today is a yellow power day in the state of Utah. That means that extra conservation of electrical resources is requested. Suggestions include not running your air conditioner between noon and 8 o’clock p.m., turning off all unnecessary appliances and lights, and keeping the thermostat above 78 degrees when using the air conditioner.

The heat is also taking its toll on air quality. Today state air quality officials issued a no-drive/choose clean air alert because of ozone--a health advisory for sensitive individuals to reduce exertion and outdoor activity--and a smoke advisory for those in the area near Farmington Canyon.

There is one encouraging item of news to report that involves water conservation. It seems, due in part to drought, water conservation is seriously taking hold.

In Salt Lake water use is down 20 percent and continues to stay substantially below normal despite our intense heat. The city's top water manager, in the business for more than 40 years, says he's never seen anything like it.

LeRoy Hooton, Director, Dept. of Public Utilities: "This is unique. I have never seen flows this low in our distribution system for this time of year and given the dryness and the heat that we're dealing with."

Water managers say the more water we save, the more we can carry over in reservoirs to next year, further preparing us to cope with the drought should it continue.

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