Mountain West Summers Will Only Get Hotter

Record-breaking temperatures are scorching the United States with parts of our region seeing all-time highs. A number of heat-related deaths are already being reported in the U.S.

According to the science-based federal agency NOAA, human-caused global warming means our heatwaves are getting hotter, longer, and more frequent.

Chris Bianchi,  a meteorologist with WeatherNation TV based in Centennial, Colorado, said that Denver has been at ninety degrees or above twenty-eight times so far in 2018. “To put that into perspective,” he said, “currently we’re ahead of pace from 2012 even.” And that was a record fire year.

Bianchi said Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are in particular trouble this season because the ground is so dry.  He said Montana and Idaho are doing slightly better because they had more snowfall this winter.

But no matter where you are, there are ways to stay safe in extreme heat. Stephanie Kuhn, with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the basic tips are to “stay indoors in an air-conditioned area. Make sure you’re drinking water, even if you’re not thirsty, those types of things.”

For more safety information and resources you can visit OSHA or your state public health department website.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.