SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4) – High pressure took control midweek and brought in above-average heat and Thursday smashed the temperature record in Salt Lake City. The previous record was 92 set back in 1958, and Thursday, Salt Lake International Airport hit 94 for the daytime high, making it the hottest day of the year thus far.
St. George also hit 100 degrees Thursday making it the first triple-digit day of the season in Utah’s Southwest desert. We also saw records broken and tied at weather stations in downtown Salt Lake City, Scipio, Provo, Eskdale in Millard County and at the City Creek Water Plant.
The heat has delivered a preview of the summer months, but it doesn’t last. We remain above average for our Friday, but major change gets a grip on the Great Basin by Saturday. The ridge of high pressure is currently shifting to the east and allowing winds to increase. The uptick in winds will impact Southern Utah where humidity will be low combined with warmth, and so fire danger rises.
The fire risk holds on Friday and the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend. Red Flag Warnings are posted for Friday and Saturday in Southern and Eastern Utah, and gusty winds could easily spread any flames that ignite. Fire danger will remain elevated as many campers and hikers hit the road and backcountry for the weekend, so we will have to be extra careful with these ripe conditions.
While Friday will be above average with mid 80s expected along the Wasatch Front, we get westerly winds and slight cooling as we close out the workweek into the Memorial Day weekend. By Friday with the high-pressure easing, we’ll add in a slight chance for showers and a few thunderstorms for the northernmost half of the state late Friday afternoon into the nighttime. Temperatures will also come down slightly and in northern Utah, it will be about 5-10 degrees cooler than Thursday and about 3-5 degrees cooler in southern Utah. This is just the beginning of a weather pattern shift.
We have a series of disturbances trekking into Utah starting Friday, with a larger system set to impact the latter half of the Memorial Day weekend. This will result in the cooling trend continuing while also likely adding a chance for wet weather and at times, windier conditions. Right now, the best chance for wet weather appears to favor the northern two-thirds of the state, but by late Sunday into Monday there is a slight chance that some moisture could make it into southernmost Utah. Each day Saturday through Tuesday will bring moisture potential with the best chance being Sunday into Memorial Day.
On top of that, there will be potential for thunderstorms. Right now, the northern half of the state and in central Utah, e expect thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday. In southern Utah, winds are likely to increase which could result in more high fire danger continuing through the weekend even with cooler conditions, so if you plan on going to the park, be mindful of that.
Moisture potential at this point is looking healthy as most valleys in northern Utah could see over a half-inch of precipitation while higher elevations in northern and central could see over an inch! In our mountains, we will likely see some accumulating snow, especially Sunday and Monday. At last check, Memorial Day looks like a bit of a washout with showers expected and significantly cooler temperatures. Monday is not the day for your outdoor plans.
Overall, the heat breaks down for the holiday weekend and daytime highs slip below average yet again heading into Memorial Day and early next week. If you have any outdoor plans for the Memorial Day weekend continue to stay up to date on the forecast!
Here’s your latest daily forecast.