Expect worsening air quality through midweek as inversion sets up

Dec 20, 2021, 7:25 AM | Updated: Dec 21, 2021, 8:58 am
air quality...
FILE: A temperature inversion traps and fills Utah valley with thick smog as seen from Traverse Mountain on January 31, 2017 in Alpine, Utah. Severe inversions have plagued Utah's large cities for many years.(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Air quality along the Wasatch Front registered at unhealthy levels for all groups in many places Monday morning, days before the next winter storm should arrive to disrupt the inversion pattern. 

The KSL Air Quality Network showed a number of monitoring stations in the “red,” meaning an air quality index of over 150, considered unhealthy for all groups. 

Listen live: Click here to listen to the latest on Utah’s Morning News, or watch the live stream below. 

KSL TV Meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke says in northern Utah, a temperature inversion sets up in winter months as cold air sinks, trapping pollution underneath warm air above. 

“Basically, day after day that we have this inversion in place, the air quality gets worse because more and more particulate matter gets trapped on the valley floor — and it’s keeping us colder, too,” she said. 

KSL Air Quality Network shows “red” conditions across the region

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air quality index, or AQI, measures air pollution levels on a scale from 0 to 500. An AQI under 50, represented by “green” on the map, would be considered good air quality; between 51 and 100, represented by yellow on the map, conditions fall into the moderate category. Between 101 and 150, represented in orange on the map, sensitive groups should take precautions to protect themselves from unhealthy air. And a “red” AQI of over 151, is considered unhealthy for all groups. 

Monday morning, much of Salt Lake County appeared as red dots on the KSL map. Van Dyke advised anyone who can head for higher elevation to do so. 

“[It’s a] very good week to go skiing,” Van Dyke said. “You get above that inversion layer, we have some fresh snow from last week. It’s looking a lot better up there than down here.” 

Pollution levels should improve later in the week with the arrival of a new winter storm. Rain should start falling Thursday in Salt Lake City, switching over to snow by the morning of Christmas Eve. Van Dyke forecasts the area will observe a “white” Christmas. 

Read more: 


Today’s Top Stories

All News

United States' Megan Rapinoe holds the trophy celebrating at the end of the Women's World Cup final...

US Soccer equalizes pay in milestone with women, men

The U.S. Soccer Federation reached milestone agreements to pay its men’s and women’s teams equally, making the American national governing body the first in the sport to promise both sexes matching money.
9 hours ago
Hands holding two small viles of vaccine....

FDA clears COVID booster shot for healthy kids ages 5 to 11

Pfizer's shot is the only COVID-19 vaccine available for children of any age in the U.S. Those ages 5 to 11 receive one-third of the dose given to everyone 12 and older. Pfizer found a booster revved up those kids' levels of virus-fighting antibodies -- including those able to fight omicron -- the same kind of jump adults get from an extra shot.
1 day ago
buffalo shooter...

Officials: Buffalo gunman taunted law enforcement online

The accused gunman, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, surrendered to police who confronted him in the supermarket's lobby. He pleaded not guilty to murder.
2 days ago
Katherine Gibson-Haynes helps distribute infant formula during a baby formula drive Saturday, May 1...

Abbott says agreement reached to reopen baby formula plant

Baby formula maker Abbott says it has reached an agreement with U.S. health officials to restart production in its largest domestic factory.
2 days ago
Sen Lee formula...
Amanda Dickson

Sen. Mike Lee works on FORMULA Act to address baby formula crisis

To address the national shortage of baby formula, Sen. Lee proposed a bill that focuses on tarrifs, FDA regulations, and WIC requirements.
2 days ago
A black bear on a school field....
Amie Schaeffer

Black bear captured in Morgan County

A black bear wandered the streets in Morgan County. After startling residents, the bear was captured, sedated and relocated to a safer place.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Expect worsening air quality through midweek as inversion sets up