Salt Lake City ends July with all-time record high temperatures
SALT LAKE CITY — For the second straight year, Salt Lake City set a record for the hottest July. This year it was more than one-and-a-half degrees hotter than a year ago.
The extreme heat is impacting Utah’s extreme drought too.
Salt Lake City hit 100 degrees 18 times in July, shattering the previous record of 15 times, according to data from the National Weather Service.
Salt Lake City also tied its all-time daily heat record on July 17 at 107 degrees. Those extreme temperatures can magnify the impact of the drought.
On the plus side, Utah received more monsoonal rain this July than last July. Unfortunately, Utah did not get as much benefit out of those storms as it normally would due to long-term drought.
“The extreme heat that we’re seeing is really making everything a lot drier, and also requiring a lot more water for irrigation if we’re trying to offset the heat,” said Candice Hasenyager, director of the Utah Division of Water Resources.
The monsoon is helping parts of the state hold off further degradation from the drought.
“Monsoons have never filled our reservoirs. We rely on our snowpack and our runoff for that,” Hasenyager said. “But, they really help offset demand during the dry summer.”
According to the US Drought Monitor, more than 80 percent of the state is in extreme drought or worse.
Reservoir storage statewide is approximately 53%, that’s up from 47% last year. Since we know that is not due to an abundance of runoff, that’s likely the result of other factors such as water restrictions, and water conservation.
“It could be that people are reducing their water usage, and that may be the reason,” she said. “I know in my neck of the woods, I’m still seeing a lot of yellow lawns.”
The Utah state watering guide recommended limiting lawn watering to two days per week with the exception of Washington County, which gets three. With rain in the forecast, Hasenyager said there could be opportunities to skip some watering.
“Let’s let Mother Nature do all of the hard work for us and let the precipitation that is naturally occurring water our lawns,” she said.
Monsoonal storms are hit and miss. When the rain hits our neighborhoods, we should turn off the irrigation. That’s how we save more water in the reservoirs, she said.
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