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Utah forecast: Cold and polluted, 'And so it goes . . .'

Published January 7, 2013 11:14 am

'Red' alert • Most of state at unhealthy air quality, with subfreezing temps the rule.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Taking an ill-advised lungful of Utah's air, Kurt Vonnegut might have scribbled this note: "Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum."

Or, seeing yet another winter inversion and resulting "Red," or unhealthy air alert, maybe he'd just sigh, "And so it goes. . ."

Excepting eastern Utah's Uintah and Duchesne counties (respectively "Yellow," for compromised air quality, and "Green," for satisfactory), the entire state was under the "Red" alert Monday and Tuesday. As exhaust fumes and particulate pollution levels increased, young children and the elderly, as well as anyone with lung or heart ailments, were cautioned against outdoor activity; drivers were urged to use mass transit instead of venturing out; and use of wood-burning stoves was a no-no.

High temperatures Tuesday along the Wasatch Front were to be in the high-teens to low-20s, preceded by overnight lows in the single digits. Light snowfall was possible early Tuesday, but not enough to alter northern Utah's dismal air quality picture.

Southern Utahns were not to escape the pollution, either, but at least they had warmer days ahead. Highs Tuesday were to be in the mid-50s after overnight lows in the upper-20s.

Salt Lake City's low early Tuesday was pegged at 7 degrees, sandwiched by Monday's high of 24 and Tuesday's forecast daytime temperature of 23; Ogden looked for 20, 7 and 21 degrees, respectively; Provo 19, 5 and 22; Logan 11, -2 and 14; Wendover 11, 0 and 15; Duchesne 9, -10 and 12; Cedar City 41, 8 and 40; St. George 54, 27 and 54; and Moab 20, -10 and 20 degrees.

The Utah Avalanche Center rated the mountains near Salt Lake City, Provo, Logan, Ogden and in the Skyline district at "moderate" risk for potentially life-threatening backcountry snow slides on Tuesday.

remims@sltrib.com