It is turning out to be a wild ride in Utah this week for extreme weather shifts, with forecasts calling for flash flooding in some areas and excessive heat in others.
Here are the key takeaways that the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City wants you to know:
Excessive heat: The West Desert and the Wasatch Front north of Utah County will swelter under triple-digit temperatures through the week, with highs topping well over 100 degrees and with little relief in sight for rain. Temperatures could reach as high as 104 degrees at some time this week in northern Utah. This heat dome is centered over the northern Great Basin. St. George already tied the state record for the insufferable heat on July 10, hitting a scorching 117 degrees. This week that region will see highs around 107 degrees but weather watchers say that is not atypical.
“We have heat in the northern end of the state, but in the southern part of the state, it is not out of the ordinary,” said Darren Van Cleave, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.
At the same time, the northern region will not cool at night, with overnight lows only reaching 80 degrees, he added.
Monsoons, thunderstorms and flash flooding: At the same time this week is bringing excessive heat to Utah, it also means an active pattern of storms developing in the heat of the day, producing gusty winds and thunderstorm activity, including lightning. Many of the areas potentially impacted are south of the I-70 corridor and east of U.S. 89.
“Wednesday is our day of greatest concern,” he added, noting that some of those storms could drift into central Utah and cause flooding concerns for burn scars caused by wildfires.
⛈️🏞️Flash Flooding threats are increasing once again. Anyone with plans outdoors across southern Utah should monitor the weather before heading out. Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes and be especially cautious at night. #UTwx pic.twitter.com/s7bRVWFKxW— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) July 12, 2022
Recreation risks: Van Cleave said the federal agency’s assessment of recreation destinations likely to see extreme monsoonal activity on Wednesday include Capitol Reef National Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Natural Bridges National Monument and the San Rafael Swell.
Wildfire risk: These severe thunderstorms accompanied by lightning do not bode well for more of the state going up in flames, as in other parts of the West.
Wildfires caused by humans, almost two dozen of them, prompted Utah. Gov. Spencer Cox to make a public plea Monday for people to exercise more caution.
Tinder dry conditions caused by the unprecedented drought gripping Utah and the West only enhances the chance for wildfires.
How to prepare: The National Weather Service said there are three simple steps to minimize risk in a flash flooding event. It advises people to get to higher ground, not to drive in water (it only takes 6 inches to knock you off your feet) and pay attention to the information available, including monitoring local radar, radio and television reports and social media.
In excessive heat conditions, people need to stay hydrated, avoid outdoor activity, take frequent breaks and wear light clothing.
The weather service added that people in northern Utah should be mindful of the threat of microburst winds.