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It’s going to stay smoky in northern Utah for a couple of days

Rain storms will help clear the air on Wednesday, but there’s a threat of flash floods.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Smoky skies in Salt Lake City, from wildfires in California, on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. It's expected to be smoky on Monday and Tuesday, but rain should clear the air on Wednesday.

Smoke from California wildfires will continue to make northern Utah’s air unhealthy on Monday and Tuesday, and the remnants of Tropical Storm Nora will bring moisture to southern Utah.

The National Weather Service warns that there’s a threat of heavy rain and flash flooding in southwestern Utah on Tuesday, and that the rain will spread north over much of the state on Wednesday and continue into Thursday.

The air quality in Salt Lake County was already unhealthy for sensitive people on Monday morning, according to the Utah Department of Environmental quality, and it’s expected to stay orange through Tuesday. And it’ll be orange in Cache, Davis, Duchesne, Tooele, Uinta, Utah and Weber/Box Elder counties as well.

The thickest smoke concentrations are expected over northern Utah, with the worst conditions from Salt Lake City west to Wendover.

The air quality is good in Washington County and it’s forecast to stay green. But, according to the National Weather Service, a “strong moisture surge” combined with the remnants of Tropical Storm Nora — which hit the Pacific coast of Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane, leaving one person dead and six missing — will bring the threat of heavy rainfall to southwest Utah by early Tuesday. And that threat will spread north on Wednesday and Thursday.

It is expected to clear out much of the smoke — the DEQ is forecast yellow/moderate air quality across northern Utah on Wednesday.

The highest potential for flash flooding will be on Tuesday across southwest Utah, but the heavy rainfall will bring with it the potential for flash flooding in other areas of the state. The highest threat will be in normally dry washes, slot canyons, slick rock areas, near recent burn scars and in steep canyons. The threat may continue into Thursday across eastern Utah.

Flash flooding is possible at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks on Monday, according to the weather service. On Tuesday, flash floods are probably at Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Zion, and it’s possible at Arches, Canyonlands, Glen Canyon, Natural Bridges, Grand Gulch and San Rafael Swell.

In Salt Lake City, the forecast calls for it to be hot and smoky on Monday and Tuesday, with highs in the mid-90s. There’s a 40% chance of rain Tuesday, a 60% chance on Wednesday and a 20-30% chance on Wednesday night and Thursday. Temperates will drop about 10 degrees, with highs in the mid-80s Wednesday-Friday.

It’ll be sunny and hot on Monday in St. George, with highs in the mid-100s. There’s a 40% chance of rain on Tuesday afternoon, a 40-60% chance on Tuesday night, a 50-60% chance on Wednesday, and a 30% chance on Wednesday night. High temperatures in the low to mid-90s are expected Tuesday through Friday.


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