A strong area of high pressure over Utah continues to block monsoon moisture from reaching the Four Corners, said James Andrus, weather observer for the National Weather Service.
“Hot air in this system is setting daily high temperatures,” he said.
On Sunday, Cortez hit 98 degrees, beating the previous recored of 96 degrees recorded on that day in 1951.
On Monday, Cortez warmed to 98 degrees, eclipsing the 2002 record of 96 degrees.
Tuesday, the high of 97 degrees tied the 2002 record.
And Wednesday, a forecast of 95 degrees was expected to set another record, the weather service said.
As of Aug. 13, Montezuma County is in the severe drought category, the third-highest out of five drought level categories, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
La Plata County is in the extreme drought category, the fourth highest.
Cortez is expected to remain in the high 90’s until Saturday. Sunday’s high is expected to be 96 with a slight chance of thunderstorms.
On Tuesday, Governor Polis issued a statewide open burn ban effective for 30 days because of extreme dry conditions and wildfire danger.
The ban prohibits campfires, fireworks, and other open sources of ignition. Home barbecues, grills, public grills, and camp stoves are allowed for use.
The order conflicts with recent local orders lifting burn bans by Montezuma County, San Juan National Forest and Tres Rios Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management.