Pollution-trapping inversions may ease by late week
Life Elevated? • At least the air up there is cleaner, and relief on the way.
Published: February 5, 2013 10:26AM
Updated: February 5, 2013 01:43PM
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Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune The afternoon sun tries to burn through the inversion near the Salt Lake City LDS temple on Wednesday.

Looking at northern Utah’s mid-week air quality forecast, there may be a couple ways to look at the state’s “Life Elevated” motto.

One, head to the mountains — elevations 6,500 feet and above recommended — to escape the pollution-trapping valley inversions. Or, two, prolonged exposure to the worst air quality in the nation might just “elevate” your spirit — as in a near-death, out-of-body experience.

“Red,” or unhealthy air quality alerts were in place for Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Cache, Box Elder and Utah counties on Tuesday and again Wednesday. The Utah Division of Air Quality warned the elderly, young children and those with heart and lung ailments to avoid extended outdoor activity in those counties; drivers are urged to avoid travel or use mass transit and wood- and coal-burning stove use is restricted as well.

Earning “Yellow,” or compromised air quality ratings at the mid-week were Duchesne, Tooele and Uintah counties.

However, some weakening of the inversions could come with increased air flow out of the northwest late Wednesday through Friday. For both Tuesday and Wednesday, however, the National Weather Service predicted freezing smog and fog for the mornings with highs in the low-30s for the Wasatch Front.

Southern Utahns, however, could look for partly cloudy morning skies turning Sunday by afternoons and highs in the 60s.

The Utah Avalanche Center reported that the risk for potentially deadly mountain slope snow slides remained a concern. Forecasters began Tuesday with by rating the mountains above Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Provo and the Uintas at “considerable” risk for avalanches, while the Skyline and Moab districts earned “moderate” grades.

Early predictions for Wednesday’s avalanche risk had Provo, Ogden and Salt Lake area slopes at “moderate.”

Salt Lake City’s high temperature Tuesday was pegged at 32 degrees, and the same was forecast for Wednesday; Ogden looked for 30s both days; Provo 38 and 39, respectively; Logan 25s; Wendover 28 and 31; Duchesne 23 and 28; Cedar City 53 and 47; St. George 64 and 63; and Moab 40 and 46 degrees.

remims@sltrib.com