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: 


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

FILE -- This Nov. 15, 2020 photo shows a long row of unsold used Highlander sports-utility vehicles...
Britt Johnson

Used car prices dropping but supply still low

The prices of used cars are starting to fall in Utah, however, dealers are seeing a very low supply of used cars.
13 hours ago
A group of students at the Jean Massieu School of the Deaf is making blankets for pet dogs and cats...
Allie Litzinger

Students making pet blankets to donate to the Humane Society of Utah

The Kindness Club at Jean Massieu School of the Deaf is making blankets for pet dogs and cats at the Humane Society of Utah.
13 hours ago
Drivers are being asked to avoid the area of 1200 West and 600 North after a fatal auto-pedestrian ...
Simone Siekaly and Adam Small

Police investigating fatal auto-pedestrian crash in Salt Lake City

Drivers are being asked to avoid the area of 1200 West and 600 North after a fatal auto-pedestrian accident.
13 hours ago
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., departs after attending a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill ...
Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona, CNN

George Santos tells House Republicans he wants off of his committees until issues are resolved

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told CNN that it was Santos' decision that he made on his own to "abstain" from the committees.
13 hours ago
The Central City Recreation Center at 615 South 300 East in Salt Lake City will be used as an emerg...
Simone Seikaly

Citing ‘dangerously low’ overnight temps, county opens emergency shelter

Volunteers are among the county and city workers helping provide emergency shelter for the homeless at the Central City Recreation Center.
13 hours ago
Police are investigating a double homicide that happened in Taylorsville overnight. According to Sg...
Amie Schaeffer

Suspect still at large after double homicide in Taylorsville

Two males were found dead in a car at the Atherton Apartments in Taylorsville on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2023. The homicide suspect fled the scene.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Expect worsening air quality through midweek as inversion sets up