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Summer Of 2016: Salt Lake City's 2nd Hottest

Judy Fahys
Clyde Kidd, a mountain-bike racer from Missoula, Mont., hits the trails in anticipation of the Park City Point 2 Point. Fellow racer David Krimstock found the trails to be dry and rocky, thanks in part to Utah's summer climate.

Coloradoan David Krimstock is heading out to get a better feel for the trails and prepare for the Park City Point 2 Point mountain bike race. During a couple of practice runs on the dusty mountain tracks, he saw firsthand just how hot and dry Utah’s summer was.

“You could tell,” says Krimstock. “The soil’s just deteriorated around the rocks. So there was a lot of loose rock.”

The cause of these conditions is no surprise to Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service’s Salt Lake City office.

“Of the last 142 years, this was thesecond-hottest we’ve ever seen,” he says.

The weather service reports that the average temperature was 80.3 -- just shy of the record hot summer of 2013.

But McInerney can list even more troubling data points.

“We had the hottest June,” he says. “We had a tie for a record for the driest July, with just a trace of precipitation. We had 21 consecutive days of 95 degrees or above.  We’ve had the hottest nighttime temperature we’ve ever seen at 80.1.”

Meteorologists count June, July and August as summer. And this summer landed Salt Lake City ’s summer on some interesting top ten lists: for the number of days that reached 90 degrees or more,  the number of days that reached 95 degreesor more and the number of days that reached 100 degrees or more.

And the heat only made things worse in a place that's had abnormally little rain and snow for over five years in a row.

Because of this exceptionally dry soil, Krimstock, the bike racer, prepared for all those rocks by beefing up his tire-repair kit.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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