Utah forecast: Heading for nation's dirtiest air on Wednesday?
Northern Utah could become No. 1 for the most polluted metropolitan area in the United States if expectations for Wednesday's suffocating air inversion prove true.
The Utah Division of Air Quality predicted that Salt Lake, Davis and Cache counties already in the "orange," or unhealthy for sensitive groups category on Tuesday would deteriorate to "red," or unhealthy for everyone, on Wednesday.
That would be bad enough, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for the Salt Lake region to compete with parts of central California to wear the sooty crown for having the nation's dirtiest air on Wednesday.
Most other areas of the state also will suffer diminished air-quality levels, though mostly in the orange or yellow (moderate) ranges. That means bans on wood-burning and open fires, along with advisories for residents to avoid prolonged outdoors exposure or unneeded driving.
The National Weather Service noted that a relatively weak storm system would ease the smog somewhat later this week, but the inversions will strengthen again going into the weekend.
The Wasatch Front looked for high temperatures Wednesday in the upper-30s with overnight lows in the upper-teens, unchanged from Tuesday's forecast.
Southern Utahns expected sunny skies and highs around 60 degrees with overnight lows in the low-30s.
The Utah Avalanche Center rated the risk for potentially deadly snowslides at "considerable" in the mountains above Logan and in the Uintas, while Ogden, Salt Lake and Provo were "moderate" and the mountains of Moab at "low."
Town hall on Utah air quality on Jan. 29
O The Salt Lake Tribune's Jennifer Napier-Pearce will moderate a town-hall discussion on Utah's air-quality challenges with a panel of experts at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South.
The discussion will be broadcast live on KCPW 88.3/105.3 FM and at sltrib.com. You can submit questions in advance by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.