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Southeastern Utah avalanche danger high, but storms remain shy of region

Published December 15, 2011 1:38 pm

Air quality • Some improvements for state's inversion-choked skies.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Storms continue to avoid Utah heading toward the weekend, and that's a welcome forecast for outdoor recreationists favoring southeastern Utah's snow-clogged mountains where an avalanche warning remained in effect well into Thursday.

While the warning for the Moab area's Abajo and La Sal Mountains was to expire at noon Thursday, the region remained under a "red" or high risk rating for dangerous snow slides from the Utah Avalanche Center into Friday. Forecasters were concerned with a significant snow load, containing more than an inch of water, lying atop an otherwise weak and shallow snowpack.

Avalanche risk watchers warned of "yellow" or moderate risk for slides in the Ogden, Salt Lake City and Provo mountain areas, but gave "green" or low risk ratings to the slopes near Logan and the western Uintas.

Meanwhile, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality eased its air quality warnings, which had sunk into "red" or unhealthy levels due to pollution-trapping valley air inversions earlier this week. Salt Lake City and Davis County had "yellow" or compromised air quality flags Thursday, but were being given a tentative "green" or healthy ranking for Friday. Box Elder, Tooele and Utah counties, along with the western Uintas, earned "green" assessments as well.

Northern Utah's forecast called for mostly cloudy skies with a chance of isolated snow showers with high temperatures in the mid- to upper-30s and overnight lows hovering around 20 degrees. Southern Utahns looked for mostly cloudy weather turning to scattered rain and snow early Friday morning and highs generally in the mid-40s and lows of about 30 degrees.

Salt Lake City's highs for Thursday and Friday were pegged at 35 and 37 degrees, sandwiching an overnight low of 21; Ogden looked for readings of 35, 37 and 20, respectively; Provo 38, 37 and 19; Logan 32, 33 and 16; Wendover 33, 35 and 19; Duchesne 30, 34 and 9; Cedar City 36, 39 and 9; St. George 45, 52 and 30; and Moab 41, 42 and 19 degrees.

remims@sltrib.com