Utah forecast: Hazardous weather outlook, deteriorating air quality
A Hazardous Weather Outlook was in place for the western two thirds of Utah throughout this Christmas week.
The National Weather Service advised that beginning Monday and extending into the weekend, light snow and freezing rain would punctuate an unsettled weather pattern over the region.
Northern Utah's Wasatch Front also looked for snow flurries as temperatures on Christmas Eve day were to warm into the mid-30s, the same forecast as that issued for Monday. Overnight lows were to be in the mid-20s.
Southern Utahns expected sunny skies and highs near 50 degrees on Tuesday, up about 5-7 degrees from Monday's forecast. Overnight lows were in the mid- to upper 20s.
Without strong storm activity, air quality throughout the state was deteriorating approaching Christmas Day. Only Tooele, Washington and Duchesne counties were in the "green," or healthy breathing category; the rest of the state, including the urban valleys of the Wasatch Front, were "yellow," or moderate for air pollution levels, according to the Utah Division of Air Quality.
The Utah Avalanche Center warned backcountry winter sports enthusiasts that the danger for potentially deadly snowslides was in the "red" zone, or high for the mountains above Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City and the Uintas; considerable avalanche risk warnings were in place for the Provo district; and Moab was rated moderate.
Indeed, as Monday dawned Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed until 8 a.m. to allow for avalanche control work.