Grand Junction’s record-breaking heat wave is off to a strong start, with Monday’s high of 102 degrees breaking the previous record high for June 14 of 101, set back in 1936. Sunday’s high of 101 degrees tied the previous high for June 13.
In addition, many locations across western Colorado and eastern Utah reported record-breaking high temperatures Sunday, including Aspen, Cortez/Montezuma County Airport, Craig, Durango, Eagle, Montrose, Ridgway, Rifle, and Moab and Vernal, Utah, according to the National Weather Service.
These high temperatures are expected to continue throughout the week, with highs not expected to dip below triple digits until at least the late weekend, according to Grand Junction meteorologist Dennis Phillips.
Today’s high is forecast at 105 degrees, Phillips said, followed by Wednesday with 105, Thursday with 104 and Friday with 100.
Those temperatures are approaching Grand Junction’s all-time highest recorded temperature, 106 degrees.
“We’ll know in the next few days whether we hit that one,” Phillips said.
An excessive heat warning is in effect in the area until Saturday, with dangerously hot conditions expected.
It has been a while since an excessive heat warning was issued in Colorado, Phillips said, but what’s really noteworthy about the current situation is how many days in a row it’s expected to get above 100 degrees.
“Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities,” the warning read.
Mesa County Public Health issued a release reminding the public to be wary of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and urged residents to take extra precautions if they work or spend time outside.
The heat wave is even breaking records not directly related to temperature.
Kelly Flenniken, director of community relations for Xcel Energy, said the company is expecting to reach its highest recorded usage peak in the area sometime this week.
“If not today, then sometime this week,” Flenniken said Monday.
Generally when the temperature goes up, people turn their air conditioners up higher, Flenniken said.
The previous high in usage was recorded June 19, 2017, Flenniken said.
Although the Grand Junction area has experienced some power outages in recent weeks, Flenniken said Xcel is not expecting any outages during this weather event.
The previous outages were equipment outages and were not related to temperature, Flenniken added.
Although the company isn’t anticipating outages, Flenniken said, crews are available in case something happens. She encouraged residents to contact Xcel as soon as possible if there is an outage.
Ironically, the Weather Service is observing 2021 Monsoon Awareness Week on June 13-19. There may not be a monsoon in the forecast, but Phillips said there’s a small chance of thunderstorms each day this week, which might be able to lower the temperature by week’s end.
Any moisture would help, really, he said, especially with the area’s drought making things a little bit worse.
“We need lots of moisture to get out of this hot, dry pattern,” Phillips said.