DENVER (CBS4) – Tuesday should be the hottest day of the week for Denver and most places along Colorado’s Front Range. High temperatures will come within a few degrees of a record while smoke and ozone combine to create more poor air quality.

The record high temperature for Tuesday in Denver is 98 degrees set just a year ago on August 17, 2020. A tie seems unlikely but afternoon temperatures should be close. The normal high temperature on August 17 is 87 degrees.

(source: CBS)

The current heat wave started last Saturday and will continue into Wednesday with highs in the 90s each of the five days.

(source: CBS)

Tuesday will also mark the 55th day this summer with an Air Quality Alert for the Denver metro area. The Boulder and Fort Collins areas are also included in the alert. The average number of alert days each summer is only 35 days and the previous record number of days was 52 from 2018. So, summer 2021 is the worst summer on record in terms of the number of air quality alerts.

(source: CBS)

More specifically, the air has been declared unhealthy for sensitive groups on Tuesday including young children, older adults, and anyone with asthma.

(source: CBS)

The poor air quality on Tuesday is primarily because of increased levels of ground level ozone (pollution) but out-of-state wildfire smoke will also contribute. The smoke will be at least “moderate” in many areas.

(source: CBS)

A similar day is expected across much of Colorado on Wednesday before significant chances arrive Wednesday night into Thursday. A strong summer cold front will drop temperatures into the 80s in Denver for Thursday and Friday. There is also a very good chance for showers and a few thunderstorms on Thursday. Friday should be mainly dry.

Meteorologist Ashton Altieri