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Utah forecast: Goodbye snow, hello air inversion

Published February 1, 2013 11:28 am

Air quality • As storms retreat, pollution index worsens going into weekend.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Enjoy the sun peaking through the clouds and the fresh air on Friday? Treasure the memory, Utah, because the weekend will see the return of the dreaded winter air inversion and smog.

Northern Utahns looked for partly cloudy skies and highs in the 40s Friday and Saturday, but air quality already was in decline. The Utah Division of Air Quality began Friday by rating Salt Lake, Davis, Box Elder, Cache, Weber and Utah counties as "Yellow," or at compromised breathability.

Saturday and Sunday air quality predictions for Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties were worse — "Red," or unhealthy conditions as the region continues into an extended dry period. Weber, Box Elder and Cache counties were given preliminary weekend air quality grades of "Yellow."

Only the Uintas and Tooele and Duchesne counties earned "Green," or healthy air quality ratings through the weekend.

Southern Utahns looked for highs around 60 degrees going into this weekend under mostly clear skies.

Salt Lake City's high temperature Friday was pegged at 42 degrees with a 40-degree reading predicted for Saturday; Ogdenites expected 39 and 37 degrees, respectively; Provo 42 and 40; Logan 36 and 33; Wendover 40 and 36; Duchesne 38 and 33; Cedar City 47s; St. George 61 and 60; and Moab 45 and 41 degrees.

Looking back on January, The National Weather Service confirmed what most Utahns already knew: It was a big month for snowfall. However, it was nowhere near a record, with January 2013 coming in at 23.8 inches of snow for Salt Lake City — little more than half the 1993 record of 50.3 inches. On average, January brings 12.5 inches of snowfall to Utah's capital city.

Meanwhile, the risk for potentially deadly snowslides in the state's mountainous backcountry was rated as "considerable" statewide on Friday, with the risk ratings for the Uintas and Skyline districts expected to rise to "high" on Saturday, according to the Utah Avalanche Center.

remims@sltrib.com