UPDATED: ‘Dangerous heat wave’ in Southern Utah prompts additional warnings from weather service

Aerial shot of sun setting west of St. George, Utah, on July 6, 2021, during a heat wave that saw a record-tying teperature of 117 degrees in St. George | Photo by Vin Cappiello, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Southern Utah residents are being asked to take extra precautions due to excessive heat forecast for the area for the foreseeable future.

Chart provides valuable information about the current heat wave in Southern Utah, July 8, 2024 | Image courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Just as one warning expires, another is issued, and on Monday, the latest Excessive Heat and Red Flag warnings once again involved Washington, Iron, Kane, Garfield and Beaver counties in some capacity.

According to the weather service press release, “This is a long-duration, dangerous heat wave that is likely to set records. Heat stress is cumulative. Temperatures over slick rock and red rock will be even hotter. Consider hiking early in the morning or late in the evening.”

The Excessive Heat Warning originally covered July 7-9 has been extended through July 14. The critical hours, according to news releases from the National Weather Service, are 9 a.m. to midnight.

With temperatures ranging from 109 to 114 degrees during the day, winds of 10-25 mph and gusting to 20-30  mph and relative humidity dipping below 10%, specific areas in the five-county region also are subject to a Red Flag Warning.

Shaded area shows the region covered by the National Weather Service Fire Weather Warning, July 10-14, 2024 | Image courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News

Among them are ire Weather Zone 493 Central Utah Mountains and Fire Weather Zone 496 Color Country Mountains, especially over the higher terrain east of US-89 such as the Sevier Plateau and especially Southcentral Utah.

The NWS also reminds the public of the following: “A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now … or are imminent. A combination of strong winds … low relative humidity … and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.”

Weather warnings through July 9

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for lower Washington County, Zion National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, including the cities of St. George, Ivins, Hurricane, Big Water, Bullfrog and Springdale. The warning is in effect from 9 a.m. Sunday, July 7, through 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 10.

During this time, dangerously hot conditions, with temperatures of 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, are expected for lower Washington County, Zion Canyon and other lower elevation areas in and near Zion National Park.

Temperatures of 109 to 114 degrees Fahrenheit are expected Sunday for lower elevation sections of Lake Powell, including Wahweap and Big Water, falling slightly to 102 to 108 on Monday and Tuesday. Overnight lows will remain in the mid to upper 70s, limiting recovery for those without adequate cooling.

The weather service has also issued a Red Flag Warning for parts of Washington, Iron, Garfield and Kane counties. The alert runs from noon Saturday, July 6, through 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. Northwest winds of 10-20 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph, are forecast, along with relative humidity of 5-10% and triple-digit temperatures.

Saturday afternoon, the weather service updated the Red Flag Warning to include Fire Zone 497, which includes a large portion of Washington County, based on the forecast, which calls for relative humidity as low as 3-5%  during the afternoon. Overnight relative humidity may only increase to 15%, with winds gusting to 35 mph during the day.

Additionally, heat-related illnesses increase significantly during extreme heat events. According to the weather service, this long-duration, dangerous heat wave is likely to last through at least Friday, July 12, and warnings will likely be extended.

Heat stress is cumulative. Temperatures over slick rock and red rock will be even hotter. Consider hiking early in the morning or late in the evening.


Stock image | Photo by volgariver/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

According to statistics provided by the National Weather Service, heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the U.S. The data shows that heat causes more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.

Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, avoid the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible, and drink plenty of water. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency – call 911.

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. This is especially true during warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.

Energy efficiency

With the excessive heat will also come the cranking up of air conditioners. Due to this, the Energy Services Department of the city of St. George has offered tips on how to practice energy efficiency to save on those cooling costs.

  • Set the thermostat to 78 degrees and use fans to provide a wind chill effect, making the room feel cooler and more comfortable.
  • Avoid using the oven for cooking. Using the microwave or grilling outside avoids adding extra heat to your home.
  • Close the window coverings, particularly on south and west-facing windows, to reduce the amount of heat coming in from the sun.

Updated Friday, July 5, 2024, 2:30 p.m.: Adds Red Flag Warning.

Updated Saturday, July 6, 2024, 2:20 p.m.: Adds Red Flag Warning for Fire Zone 497 and updates map.

Updated Monday, July 8, 4:30 p.m.: Adds updated times and dates of Excessive Heat and Red Flag warnings.

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