In the northern Utah mountains we have a weather phenomenon known as the 'inversion', in which cold stale air gets trapped in the valleys, while the clear sunny and warmer air can be found only at the higher elevations. Without storms the inversion turns into smog, fed by regular fog from the lake and wetlands, and pollution from cars, heating, and industry. The air becomes toxic and we are advised not to drive, if possible, and people with lung problems such as athsma are advised to stay indoors. Wood burning in fireplaces and stoves is prohibited. You can see, taste, and smell the air. We hope for a storm to blow the gunk away.OutlookOur Air Quality here along the Wasatch Front is measured as the "worst" in the USA today. Unfortunately, no improvement is anticipated until Wednesday when a moderate sized Pacific storm will move through the Great Basin. Temperatures are moderating a little, but still remain below normal.
Our air quality index in Salt Lake and Cache counties right now is the worst in the nation. We've had that distinction several times this winter. But right now it's about as bad as it ever gets. It's typical January, but it seems this year it has lasted longer than normal. Maybe I'm just noticing it more. But I'm longing for some blue sky.
So today's weather forecast makes me hopeful. Wednesday a storm is predicted and with temps above freezing, it will be one of those "rain in the valleys, snow in the mountsins" perfect kind of storms we love. It will clear out the gunk, will melt away some of the snow on the ground that's looking dirty, and will add to the snowpack in the mountains which we need so much for our summertime water.
I feel hopeful.