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Mountain West states should expect above-average heat this summer, says federal forecasters

Heat warning sign informs tourists of the dangers of heat exhaustion from hiking in the desert climate. Blurred scenic red sandstone formations and desert scrub are in the background. The sky is blue.
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Every state in the Mountain West is predicted to have a hotter-than-normal summer, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

New federal climate forecasts show that summer temperatures could be hotter than ever across the United States, especially in the Mountain West region.

Nearly every state in America is predicted to have a hotter-than-normal summer, according to the latest three-month outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

That’s most likely in the Mountain West. Most of New Mexico and Utah and parts of Colorado have a 60% to 70% chance of above-average summer temperatures, and all of Nevada and Idaho and parts of Wyoming have a 50% to 60% chance of above-average heat.

“We're seeing stronger above-normal temperatures that are related to how the climate has been changing and temperatures have been increasing over time,” said Johnna Infanti, a meteorologist with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

At the same time that summer temperatures rise across the West, Infanti said the agency has “some confidence that precipitation will also be below normal.”

That’s bad news for the Southwest. La Niña is forecast for late summer, a climate pattern associated with heat and drought conditions.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist and KUNR’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter. His reporting covers issues related to the environment, wildlife and water in Nevada and the region.

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