Friday was the first time in several days in that Grand Junction did not break a temperature record, according to the National Weather Service. It is, however, still quite hot and looks to be staying that way for at least the next week.
“We’re still well above normal,” NWS Grand Junction Meteorologist Dennis Phillips said Friday.
Many temperature records have been broken this week across western Colorado and eastern Utah, but Grand Junction’s all-time high of 106 degrees, set in 2005, looks to be safe.
An excessive heat warning issued by the NWS Grand Junction office was in place from noon Monday through Friday.
Friday’s high of 99 degrees failed to beat out the all-time high of 102 degrees on June 19, 1936.
Monday’s high of 102 degrees set the record high for June 14. The previous high, 100 degrees, was set in 1936.
Tuesday’s high of 103 degrees beat the previous high for June 16, 100 degrees, set in 1946.
Wednesday’s high of 105 matched the highest temperature ever recorded in June in Grand Junction, which was recorded in 1990, according to the weather service.
However, that 105 degrees broke the previous high for June 16, 100 degrees, set in 1896, according to the National Weather Service.
Thursday’s high of 104 broke the previous record for June 17 of 100 degrees, set in 1940, according to the NWS.
Xcel Energy Media Relations Representative Michelle Aguayo said preliminary data shows the company surpassed its previous usage peak Tuesday as more people turned on their air conditioners during the heat wave.
Although the forecast is moving away from record-breaking heat, it’s still going to be pretty hot in western Colorado.
According to Phillips, high temperatures will stay in the upper 90s, near the triple digits, for much of the next week.
According to an Environmental Protection Agency report on climate change in Colorado from August 2016, heat waves are becoming more common throughout the western United States, and most of Colorado has warmed one or two degrees in the last century because of increases in greenhouse gases, including increases caused by humans.
The common denominator for heat waves like this week’s is drought, Phillips said.
“That could be a factor making things a little hotter than usual,” he said.
As of June 15, most of western Colorado was in a period of either extreme or exceptional drought, according to the U.S. drought monitor.
“As long as the drought’s here I would expect temperatures to be kind of on the warmer side,” Phillips said.
With the weather staying hot, wildfires remain a concern in the area. Phillips urged residents to be careful with fire weather in the forecast.
A red flag warning for critical fire weather conditions is in effect in the area from noon to 9 p.m. today, and many area organizations enacted stage 1 fire restrictions this week.
“Stay cool and pray for rain,” Phillips said.