Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Folks have felt it this month, but now it's official: July was hot.
In fact, it was the hottest.
The month of July was not only the hottest recorded July ever in Salt Lake City, but also the hottest of any month recorded for the city since 1874, said KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank.
The previous record was an 84-degree average for the month of July in 2007, he said. This July topped that with an average of 84.1 degrees. Excessively hot day temperatures and overnight heat pushed the mean temperatures to the record-breaking mark.
To help keep her three sons cool, Utahn Kerrah VanDorn said she created a frozen slush concoction of Jell-O and Sprite.
"We stay inside or go to the pool everyday," she said.
According to the National Weather Service, Salt Lake City's average high-degree temperature for the month through Tuesday was 96.9 degrees — the normal high average for July in Salt Lake City is 92.7. Lows averaged 71 degrees as of Tuesday for the month. Normal lows for July are 64.7 degrees.
Whitnie Hill has lived in Utah her whole life and said it's the hottest she can remember.
"It's definitely a noticeable hot," she said. "It's nothing I would like to do again. I'm ready for fall."
She said if she isn't outside at the pool with her 4-month-old son, she's not outside.
Lanette Smith, however, thinks the weather has been pretty nice.
"I came (to Salt Lake City) to get out of the heat," said the St. George resident. "It really is a lot cooler. But it's hot for Salt Lake."
Despite the extreme heat, Salt Lake City has also experienced an above average wet month. KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman said precipitation was almost double that of an average July, which he attributed to humid air coming up from Arizona.
"We've seen a lot of back and forth, but that's typical," Weyman said, referring to triple-digit temperature days followed by rainy cycles.
The precipitation this month was also one of the contributing factors to the high heat, according to the National Weather Service. Meteorologist Eric Schoening said overnight temperatures have helped keep the average temperature of the month high.
"What's been really impressive is the overnight temperatures have been significantly warmer, and our average minimum or average overnight has been warmer than any other month in recorded history in Salt Lake City," he said.
While the evening and overnight storms did cool Utahns off a little, Schoening said it brought cloud cover which trapped the warm air closer to the ground, keeping temperatures high.
Salt Lake City has had 1.16 inches of rain, he said, which isn't a record but it is above average. Normal precipitation for July is 0.61 inches.
"The fact that it didn't rain during the day helped us reach really warm temperatures during the afternoon," Schoening said.
With Wednesday's high of 100 degrees, Eubank said Salt Lake City experienced 13 days of triple-digit temperatures during July, making a total of 18 triple-digit temperature days so far this summer.
Should Salt Lake City have just four more days with triple-digit temperatures this summer, the capital city will break another record. In both 1994 and 1960, Salt Lake City experienced 21 days with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher.
Schoening said the top seven warmest Julys on record have all occurred since 2002.
"Obviously we're warming on the globe on average," Schoening said. "It speaks to the larger scale warming trend. We're seeing this trend more and more often."
Record-breaking heat isn't the only extreme this year. According to the National Weather Service, January of 2013 averaged a monthly high of just 26.6 degrees while the normal average high was 37.5 degrees. The normal average monthly low temperature for Salt Lake City in January is 22 degrees, but this year it dipped to a chilling 12.3 degree average low.
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