Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Aaliyah Christian, 6, of Salt Lake City cools off on Friday at Liberty Park during a triple-digit day. <BR>

The heat is on, and Wasatch Front residents can expect at least one more day of temperatures near the century mark, until it moderates back down to "only" the mid-90s.

According to Christine Kruse, meteorologist with the Salt Lake Office of the National Weather Service, the Salt Lake International Airport had hit 100 degrees by midafternoon Friday. At 5 p.m. the temperature reached 101 degrees, which was the high for the day.

The "normal" temperature for this time of year at the airport is about 93 degrees.

The forecast is for a 99-degree day at the Salt Lake International Airport Saturday. Then, Sunday will have a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon and a high near 95 degrees. Monday will be more of the same, with a high near 94.

Overnight lows will stay in the low 70s.

The good news for Saturday is that the humidly levels will remain low — around 10 percent — meaning swamp coolers will still help more northern Utahns remain cool. Humidity levels earlier this week soared and made such evaporative coolers simply blow warm air.

"We're just on the edge," Kruse said, of Salt Lake receiving any monsoonal moisture by Sunday. She said there will be enough clouds that temperatures will drop and humidity will rise, but the possibility of thunderstorms is still being debated by various forecast models.

She said any leftover Hurricane Dolly moisture will not reach the Beehive State, but its aftermath could enhance the usual monsoonal moisture that may be headed northward.

The Salt Lake Airport has had three extra hot days so far this month — 101 degrees on July 3, 102 degrees on July 4 and the 100 degrees-plus Friday. The coolest day of the month was July 21 at just 88 degrees. Twenty-two days this month have been at or above 90 degrees.

One temperature record was set in Utah July 24 when the Bryce Canyon Airport sizzled at a record-tying 87 degrees. It was that hot on a Pioneer Day there back in 1978.

St. George had reached 106 degrees by late afternoon Friday. A high near 105 is expected Saturday, and then temperatures will remain in triple digits, though slightly lower, through all of next week. There's also a chance of showers every day Saturday through Friday, in Utah's Dixie.

Parts of Sandy and Provo also topped the century mark today. North Holladay was the cool spot at only 93 degrees.

The extended forecast is for a slight chance of showers Sunday through Tuesday night, with high temperatures around 93. Overnight lows will dip into the high 60s.

Kruse said early August is when Salt Lake's average high temperatures begin to decline.


E-mail: lynn@desnews.com