Last year was the third hottest ever recorded in Utah, according to new data from the National Weather Service.
Utah’s average temperature throughout the 20th Century was 47.6 Fahrenheit. But the last year’s average was 50.8.
“And it was kind of significant,” said Randy Graham, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service’s Salt Lake City office, “in the fact that our average temperature was over 3 degrees above normal for the whole year.”
There were some cool patches, but the days and nights of unusually hot weather added up to a lot of broken records and near-records.
And average annual temperatures for the desert Southwest region - they were highest recorded since measurements began to be taken more than a century ago. Graham said the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, combined, were 3.5 degrees higher than average.
“It’s definitely this long-term trend we’re seeing — with increasingly warm temperatures across the desert Southwest, year after year — tied in with the changing climate is really what’s driving this.”
These higher temperatures have practical impacts on Utahns, because they increase heat risk, undermine water supplies and extend the fire season.