Artusa made the comments at a monthly presentation on the nation's climate trends. He and other NOAA scientists zeroed in on the roller-coaster trends Alaska has seen this year, and they talked about the prospect of the drought lifting in some parts of middle America.
But, in the western region that includes Utah, temperatures will probably be higher than normal, forecasters said. Forecasters didn't see anything to suggest precipitation would vary from the usual pattern.
In July, both temperatures and precipitation were above normal, NOAA confirmed. This July was the hottest on record in Utah, with average daily temperatures running 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit above the 30-year norm.
And, while July is usually Utah's driest month, this year .55 inches more rain fell than normal. That sprinkling might be blamed for the sprouting of cheatgrass that has fed wildfires throughout the state.
That's changed this month, said Brian McInerney, a hydrologist in the National Weather Service's Salt Lake City office.
"We had a pretty good monsoon up 'till now," he said. "Then it quit."