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Records and Utahns melt

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Salt Lake City sizzled to another record-setting high on Tuesday when the mercury soared to 105 degrees.

Six other Utah locations also set record highs, and four others tied records.

This is the fourth time this month and the fifth time this year that the mercury has exceeded the century mark in Salt Lake. Tuesday's temperature eclipsed the old record of 103 degrees set first in 1939 and repeated in 1960.

Tuesday was also several degrees hotter than some forecasters had expected. According to Mark Jackson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake, that's because some southwest winds were carrying in extra hot air.

The high was almost 10 degrees hotter than average July high temperatures of 96 degrees.

Tuesday's high was also reminiscent of July 13, 2002, when Salt Lake reached 107 degrees and tied the city's all-time high temperature, set July 26, 1960.

July 2002 was the warmest month ever in Utah's capital, based on average temperature. It featured eight days with 100-plus temperatures, compared to the normal of three days. The record was set in 1960 with 15 days over 100 degrees.

Some experts believe temperatures are getting hotter, and a new government report suggests temperatures in Utah will be five to 10 degrees hotter over the next century. (A presentation on global warming predictions will be made Thursday at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Salt Lake City Library, 210 E. 400 South. This panel discussion is free and open to the public.)

Other record highs were felt Tuesday in Coalville with 98 degrees; Pleasant Grove, 100; Springville, 104; Tooele, 105; the Utah Test Range, 105, and Wendover, 102. Records were tied in Alta with 81; Brigham City, 98; Escalante, 101; and Provo-BYU, 104.

"We should be cooler Wednesday," Jackson said, maybe only about 100 degrees. There's a slight chance for evening thunderstorms, and overnight lows will be in the lower to mid-70s.

Thursday and Friday will be partly cloudy in the mid-90s with possible thunderstorms and a 30 percent chance of rain. Saturday and Sunday will be a repeat with partly cloudy skies with lows in the mid-60s and highs in the mid-90s.

Today will be another extra conservation day — yellow color — on the state's "PowerForward" index.

This means avoiding using electricity during peak hours (noon-8 p.m.); turning off all unnecessary lights, appliances and electronic equipment; setting air conditioning to 85 degrees when you are not at home, and 78 degrees when you are at home (or higher if your health permits); using a portable fan; and cooking in a microwave oven or on an outdoor grill instead of using electric ovens.

E-mail: lynn@desnews.com