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Summer 2017: Not Just Sweltering, It Was The Hottest On Record

Judy Fahys
The Cope sisters beat the heat in the splash pad at Liberty Park in July. Record-hot temperatures over the summer appear to be lingering into the first days of the meteorological fall, forecasters say.

The National Weather Service says Salt Lake City just logged another record-setting summer.

The daily average temperature from June through August was 80.9. It’s just slightly higher – 0.1 degree Fahrenheit -- than the old record set four summers ago.

“For this summer, which is June, July and August,” says Christine Kruse, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Salt Lake City office, “Salt Lake City had the warmest average temperature for any summer since 1874, when we started our records.”

Credit National Weather Service

Kruse says overnight lows also broke the old record. They averaged 68.4 degrees. Plus, northern Utah suffered through an unusually high number of 100-degree-plus days: 13.

“Everyone felt like it was very warm,” says Kruse. “It was definitely a very warm summer for Salt Lake.”

One other measure the weather service uses to gauge how hot it’s been is a formula called “cooling degree days.” It basically helps in tracking energy used indoors for cooling. For this summer, Salt Lake City had about 50 percent more cooling degree days than in a normal summer.

But Rocky Mountain Power says it didn’t see a spike this summer – at least compared to last summer, the third hottest summer on record. A company spokesman says that could be because power customers are being more energy efficient.

The long-term forecast suggests the unusually warm weather is likely to continue into the fall.

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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