SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As the weekend kicks off Friday afternoon and evening, the Intermountain West bakes in a mini heat wave through Saturday as more record highs fall.
An abnormally strong ridge of high pressure over the west has parked itself over Utah allowing for the hottest day of the year to date.
Overnight lows are forecast to stay above 70 in the West Deserts and the Wasatch Front tonight. This has led to the issuance of an Excessive Heat Warning through 6 a.m. Saturday.
Eastern Box Elder County, the Western Uinta Basin, the Tooele and Rush Valleys, and the San Pete and Sevier Valleys are all under a heat advisory for excessive daytime heat but slightly cooler overnight lows into Saturday morning. This advisory will expire at 11 p.m. Friday.
An excessive heat warning continues through Saturday at 10 p.m. for daytime highs at or above 100 degrees with little overnight relief with lows in the 70’s.
Southern Utah will also be dealing with critical fire weather as a red flag warning is now in effect through 9 p.m. Sunday for all of Southwest Utah, a portion of South Central Utah, and eventually it will extend into West Central Utah and the San Rafael Swell on Saturday morning.
Southwest winds will begin to increase Friday afternoon through the weekend with sustained winds 10 mph to 20 mph with gusts to 35 mph.
Air quality remains a problem for Salt Lake and Utah Counties as surface ozone will develop due to sunshine, daytime heating, and pollution from cars and industry.
Though most of Northern Utah and the Uinta Basin is forecast to stay within moderate ozone levels, Salt Lake and Utah Counties are forecast to fall within unhealthy for sensitive groups.
Isolated dry thunderstorms are also forecast to develop later this afternoon and evening throughout the region with the best chances over Eastern Nevada, Western Utah, and Southern Idaho.
A few of these storms could roll through the Wasatch Front late tonight into early Saturday morning as temperatures stay warm. These storms are likely to contain gusty winds and dry lightning. With the very dry conditions in place, any lightning strikes could lead to new fire starts.
Stay informed all weekend long with the Pinpoint Weather Team on-air and online at abc4.com/weather.