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Utah forecast: Air quality woes continue, but relief on way?

First Published      Last Updated Dec 17 2013 08:11 am

"Apocalypse Now" Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore might like northern Utah's mid-week forecast, that smell of incompletely burned hydrocarbons and particulates in the morning.

But even Kilgore's fleets of helicopters blaring Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" may not brave the lung-burning sooty soup expected to plague the Wasatch Front urban valleys through the remainder of this week.

The Utah Division of Air Quality issued "Red" or mandatory action grades for unhealthy air shrouding Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Weber, Box Elder and Cache counties. That means solid-fuel burning devices and open burning of any kind is prohibited in those areas; motorists were strongly urged to avoid unnecessary travel or choose mass transit; industries were cautioned to minimize emissions; and the young, elderly and those with heart or lung ailments were warned to avoid outdoor activity.

Air quality is expected to worsen into Thursday, though an approaching storm system could offer some relief, if it produces the winds and snowfall needed to scrub the atmosphere.

The National Weather Service left in place a Hazardous Weather Outlook advisory for the western two-thirds of Utah, warning of continued morning and evening fog, especially in the state's northern and central valleys.

The Salt Lake and Tooele valleys expected high temperatures on Wednesday in the low-30s, echoing Tuesday's forecast. Overnight lows were to be in the mid- to upper-teens.

Southern Utahns looked for highs near 50 degrees with overnight lows in the mid- to upper-20s.

The Utah Avalanche Center rated the risk for potentially deadly snowslides in the state's mountains as "moderate."

The Tribune's weather page at sltrib.com/weather provides more extensive, community-by-community forecast information.


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