WEATHER

Heat could reach record levels within five years, Utah could see more extremes

May 18, 2023, 1:00 PM

people walk in downtown salt lake as the sun shines down, temperature in utah may set records again...

The sun shines down on pedestrians as they walk across the street in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. (Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The World Meteorological Organization is predicting the world to have its hottest year at least once before 2027, the organization said.

The WMO said there is a 98% chance at least one of the next five years is the hottest on record.

Utah has been no stranger to extreme weather over the last year, hot or cold. 

In 2022, Salt Lake City set a record for the most 100-degree days in a year. KSL Meteorologist Matt Johnson said the city set numerous records over the past couple of summers.

And logically what follows that?

One of the craziest winters we’ve seen in 40 years, setting snowfall marks not seen in Utah’s recorded history.

But, with climate change still being a constant factor, Johnson said, it’s likely these kinds of summers and winters could happen more often.

“Could it become more increasingly common? I’d say ‘yes’,” Johnson said. “It’s one of the side effects to climate change.”

However, Johnson said hotter temperatures over time don’t necessarily mean Utah won’t get as much rain and snow. In some scenarios, Utah can actually expect more, depending on the year.

But, Johnson said unpredictable weather means it’ll be harder to plan and prepare for a given season. 

We’ve already seen how much day-by-day planning has gone into maintaining reservoir levels following our record winter.

The important thing to remember is that nothing is guaranteed. Johnson said long-range models predict a 50% chance of a normal summer in Salt Lake City this year.

But, we’ll need to prepare for more extremes with temperatures continually rising.

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Heat could reach record levels within five years, Utah could see more extremes