SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy Thursday, Utah! High pressure has a grip on the Great Basin and that’s triggered temperatures to jump above average throughout the state. 

Expect mostly sunny skies with daytime hitting the mid to upper 90s along the Wasatch Front and in Central Utah with a few 90s further south and heat building back with triple digits returning in Moab, Bluff, near Lake Powell and St. George. The intense heat will hang around through Friday with triple digits expected yet again in the south and the chance for the second triple-digit day of the season in Salt Lake City. Why is another 100-degree day attainable in Salt Lake City? The answer is the wind.

We have an increasing southerly flow for Friday and that means the western side of the state will have an increasing South/Southwesterly flow and winds increasing by Friday. This southerly push targets the West Desert the most, but we’ll likely see whipping winds yet again along the Wasatch Front. Wind from this direction can transport warmer air into the state. This also brings the potential of blowing dust and a hazy appearance to the valley, as well as the potential for strong crosswinds on Interstate 80.

There is a chance that travel could be impacted when it comes to limited visibility and strong crosswinds at times. As a result, a High Wind Watch has been issued for the western side of the state and includes the Tooele and Rush Valleys. The watch is for Friday afternoon and evening and includes gusts up to 60 miles per hour. This watch will likely evolve into a High Wind Warning 24 hours outside of the wind event. 

These winds will also ramp up fire concerns yet again, but the southerly flow also helps deliver moisture to a part of the state. This is due to an atmospheric setup that mimics the monsoon in the Desert SW. We have an area of high pressure off to the east and an area of low pressure off to the Northwest, which forces a southerly flow to set up and bring in some enhanced moisture from the south into the Great Basin.

In this case, the moisture comes from the Gulf of California and it would increase the chance of storms through the central part of Utah and on the eastern side of the state Friday. These storms could have brief, heavy rain, gusty outflow winds and lightning. There’s a small chance some areas could see flash flood potential.

Friday also brings the chance of dry thunderstorms, in which precipitation would evaporate before it hits the ground, but we could see lightning. This scenario poses a serious risk when it comes to wildfire starts, and that’s why a new Fire Weather Watch has been posted for Friday for much of Southern Utah.

The Storm Prediction Center also calls for thunderstorm potential in Eastern Utah Friday, and as we get closer to the end of the work week, stay with us for updates as we trek toward the weekend. The weekend keeps the chance of a storm for Northern Utah but temperatures continue to cool each day.

Bottom line? Above-average heat is back statewide with changes looming for Friday.

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