Colorado Weather: Extreme Heat And A Bit Of Smoke

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Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The view from Rim Rock Drive looking east to Interstate 70 as it snakes across the Grand Valley outside Grand Junction on May 18, 2021. Colorado National Monument celebrates its 110th anniversary on May 24. John Otto was the park’s de facto founder, and signs of his legacy, from Rim Rock Drive to the naming of Independence Monument to myriad hiking trails, are in evidence everywhere one looks.

It’s hot outside. Like, record-breaking hot. 

The weather on the Western Slope is particularly oppressive, with temperatures through the week expected to hit triple digits. The highest temperature ever recorded in Grand Junction is 106 degrees.

Michael Charnick, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said that record could be broken this week. 

“There's a chance we could meet or even exceed that temperature here in the valley on Tuesday and Wednesday, which look to be the two hottest days of the week,” Charnick said. 

The heat wave, which is hitting all over the western United States, is being caused by a combination of high pressure and the ongoing drought, according to Charnick. 

On top of the sweltering heat, Grand Junction residents will have to deal with smoke from the Pack Creek fire in Utah, which is currently burning over 4,900 acres. Smoke from other smaller fires in neighboring states are also bringing in smoke to different parts of Colorado.

The heat will also reach the Front Range, with temperatures expected to hit the mid-to-upper 90’s. 

It will be difficult to escape the heat, with even mountain towns experiencing record-highs. 

“The temperatures will be lower in those higher elevations, but still 90-degree temperatures are possible in some mountain communities, even upper-80s in some of the higher elevations, which is still exceptional warmth for this time of year,” Charnick said.

The NWS issued an excessive heat warning for the Grand Junction area, warning the excessive weather will increase the possibility of heat related illnesses, “particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.”

They suggest people working outside drink lots of water and wear loose fitting clothing when possible.