What you need to know as Utah experiences extreme heat and flash flood risk this week
What you need to know as Utah experiences extreme heat and flash flood risk this week

SALT LAKE CITY – Extreme heat will continue along the Wasatch Front for several more days, and the threat of flash flooding remains in southern Utah early this week as varying weather patterns continue to develop across the state.

The National Weather Service issued extreme heat warnings and advisories for the entire Wasatch Front, northern Utah, the West Desert and parts of central Utah on Monday, which will remain in effect through Tuesday night.

The high temperatures are the result of a high pressure system currently forming over New Mexico, says KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson. Temperatures are expected to be between 35 and 38 degrees over the next two days, while overnight lows could “briefly” reach 24 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency’s warnings advise residents to take precautions by drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding the sun as much as possible. It recommends that people stay in air-conditioned spaces and wear light, loose clothing when possible when outdoors during the heat of the day.

Children and pets should also never be left unattended in the vehicle.

However, the high pressure system will not prevent isolated rain showers from continuing to fall in southern Utah over the next few days. These could cause further flash flooding in the region after moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto hit central, eastern and southern Utah.

The weather service warns that flash flooding is “likely” in recreation areas such as Capitol Reef National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on Monday and “possible” in some other recreation areas in southwestern and south-central Utah. Flash flooding is possible in many of the same areas on Tuesday.

Johnson explains that the risk comes from scattered rain showers that will likely move into southern Utah as they circle around the high pressure system. The risk of flooding could increase on Wednesday as more scattered rain showers are forecast, but that would also put an end to the extreme heat.

That’s because a storm pattern moving in from the Pacific is expected to bring showers and thunderstorms to most of the state on Wednesday. Highs along the Wasatch Front are also expected to drop to the high 80s to low 95s by the end of the work week.

Complete seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online at the KSL Weather Center.

The rains forecast for this week add to the rainfall Utah has experienced over the past few days.

Communities in central and eastern Utah, such as Blanding, received 1.37 inches of rain, while Price and Bluff also received over an inch of rain. Some other nearby communities — such as Moab and Price — received just under an inch of rain, although higher and lower totals were possible due to the scattered nature of the storms throughout the region.

This was both good and bad news for the affected regions. On the one hand, it helped the driest part of the state, as the US Drought Monitor lists most of eastern Utah as moderately dry or “abnormally dry” – which accounts for almost all of the drought in the state.

However, Johnson said some of the water came in short bursts, causing flash floods that left some residents of the affected areas homeless.

The system also brought decent amounts of rain to the Wasatch Front, where not much rain was originally forecast. Salt Lake City received 3 inches of rain on Friday and Magna received over half an inch.

By Isla