SALT LAKE CITY -- It's official: July was the warmest month ever in Salt Lake City, the National Weather Service said Thursday. And with temperatures reaching 100 degrees again Thursday, August is off to a scorching start too.
Capped off by a high of 101 degrees Wednesday, July ended up with an average temperature of 84.1. That barely surpassed the record set in July 2007 of 84.0, said Glen Merrill, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.
Records go back to 1874 and are based on temperatures recorded at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
The scorching July comes on the heels of the third-warmest June in history as the summer of 2013 continues to be one for the record books. The city has already registered 19 days of triple-digit heat this year. That's just two days shy of the record set in 1960 and again in 1994.
Merrill said temperatures could reach 100 again Thursday, and August is traditionally a hot month too. Salt Lake City averages only three to five triple digit days each year.
It's been a very warm decade. In the last 10 years, Salt Lake City has recorded the seven warmest Julys and three of the five summers with the most 100-degree days.
It's the kind of trend that goes beyond normal weather fluctuations and bolsters research suggesting there is global warming, said David S. Chapman, a University of Utah professor emeritus of geology and geophysics who has studied global warming for 20 years.
Meteorologists say consistent high pressure across the West has led to this summer's heat in northern Utah but acknowledge that data from the last decade point to global warming.
The Salt Lake City temperatures are generally representative of weather along the Wasatch Front, home to 2 million of Utah's residents who live in a string of cities from Brigham City on the north to Santaquin on the south.
The heat has caused more than just sweaty, uncomfortable jogs and walks to the park with children. It led to more buckled roads than normal and a record amount of energy used by people to keep their homes and offices cool.
Road crews fixed 16 buckled roads this year, up from three to five normally, said John Gleason, spokesman with the Utah Department of Transportation.
Most have come along a stretch of Interstate 15 in between Salt Lake City and Provo that is older and yet to be replaced like the rest of the highway, Gleason said. Repairs usually take about five hours and shut down two lanes of traffic, he said.
"It's been a real issue this year for us," Gleason said.
For the third year in a row, Rocky Mountain Power set another record for energy used in one day by its Wasatch Front customers on July 1, said company spokesman David Eskelsen.
The high of 104 degrees that day was the hottest point of the month and broke a record for that date, the National Weather Service said.
More than half of the electricity used in the summer is to keep people and food cool by way of air conditioners or refrigerators and freezers, Esekelsen said.