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Utah forecast: Cold, sooty air and heightened avalanche danger
Red alert » Salt Lake, Davis counties get unhealthy air quality grades.
First Published Nov 14 2012 07:04 am • Last Updated Nov 14 2012 12:21 pm

You may just want to stay inside.

First, it’s cold out there and will stay that way going into the latter part of this week. And, while any Dr. Seuss fan may know that "It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air," on Thursday along the Wasatch Front that air was not expected to be healthy to breathe.

At a glance

Canyon Alerts:

With the local ski resorts opening and winter weather conditions here in Utah the Unified Police Department (UPD) would like to remind the public that they can get current canyon conditions at www.canyonalerts.org.

The alerts are predominantly for Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. UPD officers continually update the road conditions throughout the winter and especially during snow days.

The service is free and will notify the public when the canyons are open or closed, and when closed, will give estimated opening times. They will also advise when there are restrictions such as 4X4 or chains required on vehicles.

The public can receive alerts through e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, text messaging, etc. The website will instruct the public how to sign up.

— Source: UPD

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Noting that particulate matter and ozone levels alike are on the rise, the Utah Division of Air Quality has graded Salt Lake and Davis counties as "Red," warning that young children and adults with heart or lung ailments should avoid outdoor activity, period.

It’s not much better Thursday for breathability in Cache, Utah and Weber counties, which earned "Yellow," or compromised air quality ratings. Box Elder, Tooele and Uintah counties were the few still flying "Green," or healthy air banners.

Northern Utahns looked for partly cloudy skies and highs in the mid-40s with overnight lows at or below freezing. To the south, cloudy skies and highs in the upper-60s were to be the rule, after overnight lows in the mid-40s.

Even if you can drive up above the increasing valley air inversions, the Utah Avalanche Center urges caution. The risk for dangerous snow slides on the region’s mountain slopes was rated at "considerable" for the Salt Lake and Provo area mountains, while the Logan, Ogden, Uintas and Skyline districts earned "moderate" avalanche risk grades.

Indeed, Little Cottonwood Canyon began Wednesday morning closed while crews did avalanche control work. The closure ran from 6:15 a.m. to 8 a.m., the Utah Department of Transportation said.

Salt Lake City expected a high of 44 Thursday, up 2 degrees from Wednesday’s forecast; Ogden looked for 45 and 44 degrees, respectively; Provo 45 and 43; Logan 46 and 43; Wendover 44 and 43; Duchesne 46s; Cedar City 57 and 55; St. George 68 and 67; and Moab 55 and 54 degrees.


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