Record-breaking heat descended upon Denver and Pueblo on Monday — the start to a scorching week along the Front Range and across southeast Colorado.
Temperatures in Pueblo spiked to 102 degrees, shattering the city’s previous record for the date of 100 degrees, set in 1973, the National Weather Service reported. In Denver, a high of 99 degrees broke the day’s record of 97 degrees, set in 1986.
A wet spring moderated temperatures for much of the region, but as the ground has dried out, the area has heated up.
Colorado Springs’ high temperature was 93 degrees about 3 p.m., falling just short of the day’s record of 94, set in 2001. By 4:15 p.m., the temperature had dipped to 91 degrees, said meteorologist Bill Line.
The National Weather Service in Pueblo tweeted Monday morning that the weather across southeast Colorado would be “hotter than a Pueblo chile.”
Gazette news partner KKTV warned that fire danger would be high: “It’s not a Red Flag Day, but outdoor burning is not a great idea.”
The near-record temperatures in the Springs could pose health risks for some, Line said.
“If you’re doing a lot of work outside and not staying hydrated, it could definitely be a problem,” he said.
Breaking daily heat records is not entirely uncommon, Line said. Records are broken when area weather patterns allow “more heat to filter north into our area.”
Colorado Springs has broken three daily high temperature records this year, all of them in July, NWS data show.
“This stuff happens when you get this type of high pressure weather system this time of year,” Line said.
In addition to staying out of the sun during the heat, Line advised residents to keep their pets well hydrated and out of the heat too.
Monday, the runways at Denver International Airport likely reached 110 to 120 degrees, meteorologist Russell Danielson said. That’s hot, but it’s not hot enough to fry an egg, which requires a surface temperature of at least 158 degrees, according to the Library of Congress’ Science Reference Services.
And even Denver’s 99 degree heat likely wouldn’t be deadly. Heat fatalities in Colorado are rare, though heat-related hospitalizations are not uncommon, Danielson said.
In Colorado Springs, temperatures are forecast to hit 93 degrees Tuesday, 87 degrees Wednesday, 84 degrees Thursday, 88 degrees Friday and 91 degrees Saturday, the weather service reported. On average, temperatures reach 81 degrees each day from Aug. 19 to 24.
Chances of showers and thunderstorms also are possible through the end of the week, with the best chance coming Wednesday.