Wasatch Front air quality once again unhealthy for sensitive groups, but some relief coming soon

National Weather Service shows smoke modeling as of mid-day Sunday. (https://twitter.com/NWSSaltLakeCity/status/1419304375256711170)

It’s been an all-too frequent story in this summer of 2021.

On Sunday, after the week’s torrential rains, above-average temperatures along with poor air quality returned to the Wasatch Front in Utah, proving to be a tough combination as the Pioneer Day holiday weekend wraps up.

According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), conditions in Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties met the thresholds for the air to be considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” The culprit is the usual for the summer: smoke from wildfires to the west, notably those in Northern California, and to the north in Idaho.

Breezometer map shows air quality levels across Western United States. Green is considered healthy, orange and red unhealthy, and purple very unhealthy or hazardous. (https://www.breezometer.com/air-quality-map/air-quality/united-states/salt-lake-city)

Forecasters, though, expect the smoke to ease up somewhat late Monday and early Tuesday, as a small storm front comes in and brings minor winds — 10 to 15 mph — and the chance of rain to the region.

Temperatures are expected to stay high on Monday — the National Weather Service forecasts a high of 100 degrees, before dropping down to a high of 93 on Tuesday and even down to a high of 86 degrees by Saturday as another storm front arrives.

The UDEQ recommends that sensitive groups reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. “It’s OK to be active outside, but take more breaks and do less intense activities. Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plans and keep quick relief medicine handy,” the forecast reads.

The smoke also made a near-full moon appear orange on Saturday night:

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