Utah forecast: Smoggy and cold, then polluted and frigid
‘Red’ air alert • We’re No. 1 . . . for worst air quality in the nation.
Published: January 22, 2013 12:47PM
Updated: January 22, 2013 08:22AM

The forecast for Utah? Smoggy and cold, followed by polluted and frigid.

If you want to breathe deeply without swooning on hydrocarbons trapped by the inversion shrouding the state’s urban valleys, head to the mountains. Otherwise, realize that air quality along the Wasatch Front Tuesday through Wednesday earned “Red,” or hazardous-to-your-health grades in Salt Lake, Davis, Cache, Weber, Tooele and Utah counties.

The poor air quality and its accompanying “No Burn” orders forced the Salt Lake City Fire Department to cancel — for the second time in as many weeks — a firefighters’ training exercise that had been rescheduled for Tuesday.

Eastern Utah’s high plateaus, in Duchesne and Uintah counties, were not a whole lot better at “Yellow,” or compromised air quality.

And it is cold. Salt Lake City dipped to 5 degrees as morning dawned Tuesday with highs not expected to top 20 degrees. Wednesday’s overnight lows for the Wasatch Front were to be in the 5-10 degree range with highs later in day hovering in the upper-teens.

Light snow flurries were possible Wednesday night, but not enough to alleviate air quality that had Salt Lake City and Provo rated the worst for air pollution in the nation.

Southern Utahns had it better, though. The National Weather Service pegged highs Tuesday in the 45-60 degree range, a forecast expected to make an encore on Wednesday. Overnight lows were to be in the mid-20s.

At least the Utah Avalanche Center had some good news: the risk for dangerous backcountry snowslides was rated at “low” for the entire state with the exception of the Uintas, which remained at “moderate.”

Salt Lake City’s high Tuesday was pegged at 20 degrees, followed by an overnight low of 5 and a high Wednesday of 20 degrees; Ogden expected 19, 4 and 19 degrees; Provo 23, 6 and 26; Wendover 9, -1, 11; Duchesne 19, -8 and 20; Cedar City 37, 8 and 48; St. George 60, 26 and 60; and Moab 30, 8 and 31 degrees.

remims@sltrib.com