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Temperatures in Southwest Colorado could break records this week

Smoke blowing in from Northwest fires triggers air quality advisory
Doris Wilson cools off in the shade along the Animas River on a hot Tuesday afternoon after she and her husband rode bikes on the Animas River Trail. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Southwest Colorado will see a bit of a heat wave, as temperatures reach the low 90s throughout the week.

According to the National Weather Service, the hot temperatures are more than 10 degrees higher than Durango’s average high for this time of year.

“Our normal high this time of year is 80 degrees,” National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Aleksa said. “So being in the 90s, we will be well above normal for the rest of the week.”

According to the National Weather Service, the record high for the Durango area for Sept. 8 is 93 degrees, set in 1977. So, this heat could be potentially record-breaking.

In Montezuma County, Wednesday’s forecast high temperature of 93 degrees is expected to break the record high of 90 set in 1997.

The heat is the result of a large ridge of high pressure above the Great Basin region of Nevada and Utah.

“It’s going to be expanding eastward and shifting over the Four Corners region by Wednesday and Thursday of this coming week,” Aleksa said. “That’s going to allow the temperatures to rise up well above normal.”

Aleksa said there is a chance for a cool-down this weekend as disturbances move down from the north that could result in some mountain storms.

A swimmer jumps into the Animas River on a hot Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Park. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Because of where the high-pressure ridge is located, smoke from wildfires in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest is being dumped over Colorado.

“The way the winds are rotating around the high pressure, it’ll be bringing in smoke today through tomorrow with the northerly flow,” Aleksa said.

Aleksa said the smoke could actually bring down some of the high temperatures.

“It could act like a cloud layer to keep from heating up the surface,” he said.

With the warmer temperatures in Durango on Tuesday, the Animas River offers plenty of ways to stay cool. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

There is an Air Quality Advisory warning regarding the smoke blowing in from the fires in the Northwest.

The National Weather Service suggests staying hydrated and limiting time outside this week because of the smoke.

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