Utah sees hottest April temperatures since the 1930s

Apr 24 2012 - 6:12am

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(KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner) Ashlie Jorgensen reads a book with her dog, Cheyenne, in South Ogden on Monday.
(KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner) Ashlie Jorgensen reads a book with her dog, Cheyenne, in South Ogden on Monday.

OGDEN -- The temperature over the weekend reached a high not felt in the state since the mid-1930s.

National Weather Service meteorologist Nanette Hosenfeld said the state is seeing temperatures running 15 to 20 degrees above the average for this time of year.

Sunday broke 17 records, with temperatures reaching 86 degrees, surpassing the previous record of 83 degrees.

Meteorologists waited to see if temperatures across the state would continue to rise and beat the state monthly record for April.

To break that record, the temperature needed to hit 90 degrees at Salt Lake City Airport, but the high only reached 88 degrees.

Ogden beat the daily record with a high of 87.

"The record for the month is not as sure of a deal, but it's definitely possible," Hosenfeld said.

She said the high temperatures come from a warm air mass that moved in from the southwest.

"I guess you can call it the Arizona heat," she said.

Hosenfeld would not attribute the short-term rise in temperatures to climate change; she said that is more of a long-term trend.

"You can't really look at one day and say it was climate change. You can't say for sure. There is no way to prove it."

The high temperatures should continue into today, but are expected to be lower Wednesday.

A storm system will move in Thursday and Friday, possibly bringing rain to the area.

Weber Morgan Health Department spokeswoman Lori Buttars said the higher temperatures affect air quality in the state.

In the past few days, along with the rising temperatures, the level of air quality has gone from green for good to yellow for moderate.

During yellow air days, unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

Warmer temperatures also bring out more mosquitoes, Buttars said, because mosquito eggs start to hatch as soon as the temperature rises above 70 degrees.

With the spike in temperature, Buttars said she doesn't know how the weather will affect the health of residents.

She doesn't know how many homes have prepared for the warmer weather by tuning their air conditioners, for example.

"It takes time and money to do that," Buttars said.

For many people, though, the warm weather is an inspiration to get outdoors.

Mt. Ogden Golf Course pro-shop employee Doug Benson said as soon as the weather started warming up, more people began showing up to golf.

The weather affects the number of rounds golfers can get in. As soon as the weather improves, Benson said, people start getting antsy and want to hit the links to play.

"I think people put up with the weather for the most part, unless it's a downpour, but the weather does help," Benson said. "Heat, I don't think affects people. They are going to come out and play. It just entices them."

Riverside Golf Course Manager Brett Schneiter has seen more people show up to play overall.

"This spring versus last spring is just a 180-degree turnaround," Schneiter said.

The golf course has already begun to see new golfers, who normally do not venture onto the courses until after school lets out.

By then, Schneiter said, other activities, such as camping, are competing for their attention.

Schneiter doesn't think the warmer temperatures will affect the health of the golfers.

"I think people now are pretty sharp in taking care of themselves in warm weather," he said.

If the weekend temperatures had beaten the state record high for the month, Hosenfeld said, there would probably not have been any big celebrations at the National Weather Services offices.

"There might be a couple bets going on of what our maximum temperatures will be, but that is about as fun as it gets."

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