Don’t hold your breath, but fresher air is on the way — and soon Utahns will be able to breathe deeper without risking a hydrocarbon swoon.
While Utah’s air quality Tuesday was once more downright unhealthy, and expected to make a filthy encore Wednesday as well, relief is on the way in the form of fresh snowfall and an atmosphere-scrubbing storm.
That storm is predicted to hit the region by mid-day Thursday, hopefully ending the Wasatch Front’s most recent spell of inversion-enhanced smog and “Red,” or unhealthy air quality alerts. From Thursday afternoon and extending into the weekend, gusty weather and periodic snow showers were forecast for northern Utah.
But first, the region had to endure a couple more days of miserable air quality. Along with Salt Lake County, Davis, Weber, Cache, Box Elder, Tooele and Utah counties were given the dreaded “Red” air quality grade. Motorists were again urged to use mass transit, wood-burning stove use was discouraged and the elderly, young children and those with lung or heart ailments were urged to stay indoors.
Only Uintah County, with a “Yellow,” or compromised air quality rating, and Duchesne, with a “Green,” or healthy air grade, escaped the Utah Division of Air Quality’s scarlet badge of shame.
While breathability was soon to improve, the Wasatch Front expected to remain cold. Highs Tuesday were to be in the upper-20s with lows in the teens overnight. Wednesday’s highs were forecast for the upper-20s to low-30s.
Several locations were predicted to hit single-digit or even sub-zero temperatures early Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service said Duchesne would record a -8 overnight; Delta -2; Randolph 2; Bryce Canyon and Logan 4 degrees; Hanksville 5; and Wendover 9 degrees.
Southern Utahns caught a break, though. Tuesday’s highs reached into the 50s, with overnight lows predicted to be in the upper-20s to low-30s. Daytime temperatures for Wednesday were expected to warm into the 40s to mid-50s. High elevation snowfall was expected late Thursday.
The Utah Avalanche Center rated the mountains above Salt Lake City, Logan, Provo and Ogden at “low” for the risk of potentially dangerous snow slides on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Salt Lake City looked for a high of 29 degrees Tuesday and 33 degrees on Wednesday, following an overnight low of 20; Ogden expected readings of 27, 33 and 17 degrees, respectively; Provo 28, 22 and 16; Logan 22, 25 and 4; Wendover 19, 23 and 9; Duchesne 15, 20 and -8; Cedar City 34, 40 and 14; St. George 56, 56 and 29; and Moab 19, 23 and 19 degrees.