While the Midwest swelters in a drought, Salt Lake City is sailing toward the opposite type of record.
A downpour July 25 that dumped 0.91 of an inch of rain on Utah's capital "helped swell the water year to 21.41 inches, which puts this 1997-98 water year in fifth place, with two more months to go," says the latest monthly climatic summary for Salt Lake City.William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service's Salt Lake City regional headquarters, said the city weather data go back to 1928.
A new water year begins every October. The city's record for moisture in any 12-month period was in 1981-82, when Salt Lake City recorded 25.15 inches. Less than four inches are needed to beat the record, but Alder said that much isn't likely to fall in the relatively dry summer months remaining in the water year.
However, if normal amounts of normal amounts of rain fall in August and September, the city will end up with the third-wettest water year on record.
"Temperature for the month averaged 1.8 degrees above normal. The hot streak at the middle of the month, with three days in a row of 100-degree plus temperatures, was cooled down by monsoon moisture," says the report.
Elsewhere in the state, extreme variations were the rule. Record heat and flash floods struck southern Utah. Two hikers from California were killed by a flash flood that struck the Zion Narrows in the North Fork of the Virgin River inside Zion National Park.
Spring City, Sanpete County, experienced a triple whammy: flash floods on July 22, 24 and 27. They caused $2 million to $2.5 million in damage, mostly crop losses.
A tornado was sighted just southeast of Newcastle, Iron County, on July 23.
On July 10, lightning struck and killed a construction worker in Draper, while two others were injured. That same day, a flash flood hit Capitol Reef National Park.
A wall of water 12 feet deep and 230 feet wide flowed from Grand Wash onto the park's scenic drive and Utah 24. The state road was closed for three hours, blocking traffic for a mile in both directions.