Utah forecast: Icy cold, stinky and elevated avalanche risks
Happy New Year. However, the forecast is so last year icy cold, and along the Wasatch Front, the air still smells like a rancid mix of smoke and ripe, wet socks.
Overnight temperatures dipped well below zero in several locations early Wednesday morning, with Duchesne, Richfield and Bryce Canyon recording -10 readings, and expecting Thursday lows of -8, -4 and -8, according to the National Weather Service.
Elsewhere, the region's thermometers were only marginally warmer overnight, with lows in the teens early Wednesday. Daytime highs were expected to rise only into the upper-teens to low-20s in northern Utah on Thursday mirroring Wednesday's high temperature expectations.
Southern Utahns looked for highs in the low-30s to near 40 degrees, with lows in the upper-teens to low-20s.
Then, there is the state's air quality forecast, which was generally poor. The National Weather Service blamed the high-pressure system hovering over the Wasatch Front for the inversion capping pollution in the region's valleys.
The Utah Division of Air Quality responded by forecasting "Red," or unhealthy breathability grades for Salt Lake, Davis, Cache and Weber counties on Thursday. Box Elder, Tooele and Utah counties were given marginally better "Yellow," or compromised air quality ratings, while Duchesne County was the state's sole "Green," or healthy air quality district.
The Utah Avalanche Center cautioned backcountry recreationists that the risk for dangerous snow slides remained for Thursday. The mountains near Logan, above 8,500 feet elevation, were rated at "moderate" risk for avalanches, as were Ogden (above 7,000 feet), Salt Lake and Provo (8,000 feet and above).
The Unitas and Skyline district earned "considerable" avalanche risk warnings at the tree line and higher.
Salt Lake City's high temperature for Thursday was pegged at 28 degrees, up from the forecast of 26 for Wednesday; Ogden looked for 27 and 24 degrees, respectively; Provo 28 and 26; Logan 18 and 15; Wendover 19 and 17; Duchesne 15 and 13; Cedar City 30 and 28; St. George 45 both days; and Moab 23 and 21 degrees.
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