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Utah’s smoky skies will persist until Saturday

Temperatures will drop into the 80s on Friday in Salt Lake City.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Smoke in the Salt Lake Valley, on Monday, July 12, 2021.

A weak cold front is headed for Utah on Friday, and smoky skies are expected to clear on Saturday — but it’ll be a temporary reprieve, at best.

Smoke from wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington continues to raise the level of particulates in Utah’s air. According to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, air quality was “moderate” across Utah on Thursday morning, and it’s expected to rise to unhealthy levels for sensitive groups later in the day.

And it’s going to get hot Thursday — the National Weather Service forecasts a high of 98 in Salt Lake City. There’s a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms across northern Utah, which will be capable of producing gusty winds in the afternoon and evening.

There’s no rain in the forecast for Iron County, which declared a state of emergency after flash flooding there, through Monday. There’s a chance of showers and thunderstorms there on Tuesday and Wednesday.

That cold front will drop temperatures Friday — the forecast high in Salt Lake City is 84 — but the smoke is expected to persist. According to weather service forecasters, smoke will continue until 7 a.m. on Saturday, when skies will clear and a high of 85 is expected. But the smoke is expected to build again Sunday, with a high of 93. Highs in the upper 80s are expected Monday and Tuesday.

Southern Utah will get relief from the smoke, but not the heat, before northern Utah. Patchy smoke is expected in St. George on Thursday morning before clearing. After a high of 109 on Thursday, temperatures will be in the low 100s through Tuesday.

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