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. Warm temperatures are expected in Utah ahead of the Pioneer Day holiday weekend. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes

ST. GEORGE – Pioneer Day weekend is coming hot.

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

Current forecasts indicate that highs will continue to be near or above 105 degrees in St. George at least through Sunday as well.

“Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, especially for those who work or participate in outdoor activities,” the alert reads.

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

“(The system) is going to turn back west and then a bit north. It’s going to dry out western Utah and a lot of the valleys,” he said. “There will still be some mountain thunderstorms, but the majority of the precipitation will be confined to those higher elevations.”

Residents of southern Utah won’t be the only ones feeling the heat. High temperatures are also expected to approach or exceed 100 degrees on the Wasatch Front Thursday and Friday. These temperatures are expected to stay in the upper 90s for the Pioneer Day weekend.

Forecasts are comparable to those of recent weeks for the region.

For example, Salt Lake City remains on course to have its hottest July and overall month on record. The city maintained an average temperature of 87.1 degrees for the first 19 days of the year, according to weather service data. Highs have topped 90 degrees every day of the month so far and 95 degrees 18 the first 19 days, peaking at 107 degrees on Sunday, which is an all-time high for the city.

The record for the hottest month ever was set last July when the average temperature reached 85.7 degrees. The city archives date back to 1874.

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

  • Take extra precautions if you work or plan to spend time outdoors. Wear light, loose clothing when outdoors and reschedule all 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 vehicles unattended.
  • Check on relatives and neighbors who may be susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
  • Call 911 if anyone experiences heat stroke symptoms.

Complete seven-day forecasts for areas of Utah are available online at the KSL Weather Center.

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

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