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Utah forecast: Persistent inversion to usher in New Year

First Published      Last Updated Dec 31 2013 10:52 am

It's good that Father Time and Baby New Year aren't real. If they were, in northern Utah the former would be a frail, wheezing 2013 handing off the old cosmic hour glass to a gagging allegorical infant 2014.

That's because the Utah Division of Air Quality says the New Year's Eve magic, when resolutions and pledges of fresh starts abound, won't do anything for the inversions trapping pollution in the Wasatch Front's urban valleys.

On New Year's Day, Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Weber, Box Elder and Cache counties all will be in the "unhealthy" air quality category, which carries a mandatory ban on wood-burning stoves and all open burning outdoors. Additionally, the air out there is dirty enough that health professionals urge the elderly, very young and people with heart or lung disease to stay inside and reduce physical activity.

Motorists are being strongly advised to avoid all unneccessary trips, and to consolidate those they cannot avoid. Industries also should optimize their operations to minimize emissions, DAQ officials say.

The National Weather Service said a storm system was expected to move into the region late Tuesday and early Wednesday, but is so weak it will do little to clear the air. A little rain, perhaps a dusting of snow, was all forecasters could hope for.

Temperatures along the Wasatch Front on New Year's Day will range into the low-30s, a few cooler than Tuesday's forecast. Overnight lows were to be in the upper-teens.

Southern Utahns looked for highs in the low- to mid-50s with overnight lows in the mid-20s. Also, Washington County was the only air quality monitoring district expected to be in the "healthy" category as 2014 dawned.

For more extensive weather information, visit the Tribune's weather page at http://www.sltrib.com/weather.