Utah weather continues in a holding pattern
Polluted • Air, no storms the norm.
Published: January 18, 2014 07:52PM
Updated: January 19, 2014 12:34PM

Utah’s weather is much like the attitude of families who get in a January rut after the excitement of the holiday season ends. It is in a “same old, same old” pattern with no change in sight.

That means Wasatch Front residents can expect relatively mild seasonal temperatures, plenty of haze and fog and no change expected until at least Thursday night when the National Weather Service says there is a slight chance of rain.

Talking about the drought that has engulfed much of the Western United States to the Associated Press, Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the Lincoln, Neb.-based National Drought Mitigation Center, described the situation in much of the West this way:

“What we’re seeing meteorologically is a blocking pattern that is deflecting all the storms. There really hasn’t been a lot of indication that this pattern is breaking down.”

That is reflected in the weather pattern in Salt Lake City, where residents can expect patchy fog and haze through at least Wednesday, with highs of 41 Sunday, 39 on Monday’s Martin Luther King holiday, and 39 Tuesday and Wednesday. Lows are expected to be between 22 and 24 through Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said drivers can expect areas of dense fog in mornings in Cache Valley and along Interstate 80 between Salt Lake and Weber Counties. Visibility near waterways and the Great Salt Lake could be reduced to less than a quarter of a mile at times.

The Utah Division of Air Quality rated the pollution in Salt Lake and Davis counties on Sunday and Monday as “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” That means that people with existing heart or respiratory ailments should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity during the mid-morning and afternoon hours. Solid fuel burning devices and open burning is prohibited and drivers are urged to consolidate trips.

The Utah Avalanche Center rated avalanche danger in much of the Wasatch Front to be moderate, with areas of considerable danger existing in localized terrain with the northwest through east facing slope above 9,000 feet the most dangerous. Natural avalanches are unlikely, but human triggered slides are possible. The High Uintas avalanche danger was rated as considerable.

The weather was much more pleasant for holiday travelers heading south to play some golf or do some hiking in the St. George area or to enjoy the large antique car show in Mesquite, Nev.

The National Weather Service was calling for sunny and clear skies in Utah’s Dixie through Wednesday, with highs hovering around 60 and lows of about 39.

Skies were clear and the weather sunny but cold in the mountain including Park City, which is hosting the annual Sundance Film Festival.