The heat is on — and it's sticking around for a while
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Temperatures in Utah burned through triple-digit records Friday, and it's not over yet.
Highs in Salt Lake City reached 105 degrees, topping the previous record of 102 set on the same date in 1961, according to the National Weather Service. Kanab and Escalante also reached 105 degrees to set new heat records.
Provo logged a record high of 103, 2 degrees higher than a record set in 1994, while Cedar City tied a 101-degree record and Zion National Park reached a scorching 114 degrees, trumping the 1950 high of 110.
The parade of highs in the 100s will continue until the Fourth of July, when the forecast calls for a high of 98 degrees along the Wasatch Front, KSL weather specialist Grant Weyman reported.
With the forecast comes a chance of thunderstorms — and some accompanying lightning — in the mountains through the weekend, Weyman said.
Heading into the weekend, the National Weather Service cautioned Utahns not to leave children or pets in cars, to wear light clothing, drink plenty of water and avoid sun exposure.
Teresa Gray of the Salt Lake City Health Department warns that as the sun beats down from above, a heat hazard can come from below. On Friday, Gray measured surface temperature on black asphalt at 137 degrees.
Those hot surfaces can harm bare feet as they play or visit water parks, Gray said.
"When it gets that hot, the asphalt will absorb the heat and it doesn't dissipate overnight," Gray said. "It comes down to a safety issue."
So far, hot surfaces haven't posed enough of a threat to shut down any water attractions, but Gray will be keeping a close eye on them this summer.
So will Andrea Eggleton, a Salt Lake City mom who likes to take her sons to Seven Peaks water park to cool off. After their last trip, the kids had blisters on their feet, Eggleton said.
"It's kind of a safety issue as well when these kids are holding these big giant tubes and looking down concerned that their feet are burning," she said. "It makes me as a mom a little nervous."
Mark Oraskovic, an emergency room doctor with Intermountain Medical Center, said hot pavement can lead to second-degree burns. Parents also need to watch for sunburns and dehydration, he advised.
Contributing: Andrew Adams
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