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Expect hazy skies and moderately unhealthy air for a few days

(Credit: Paul Nelson)

WASATCH FRONT – Shouldn’t the air be cleaner, today? The Department of Environmental Quality says the air above Utah could be moderately unhealthy for the next few days, even after strong storms last Sunday.  We can thank wildfires in Utah and Nevada for that.

Meteorologists say heavy rain, like the kind that hit many portions of the Wasatch Front this weekend, normally do a good job in cleaning the haze out of the sky.

However, National Weather Service Meteorologist Charlotte Dewey says, “We had the rain to scrub the air from the previous fires, but, now we have a new fire.  So, we need rain to clean it again.”

Lightning sparked two blazes in central Utah and the NWS is using their satellites to track where the smoke is headed.  Dewey says the smoke is combining with that of wildfires in the southern portion of the state and one fire from neighboring Nevada.

She says, “It’ll come from the southwest into central Utah, northern Utah and points east.”

While the air will look gray and messy for a few days, Dewey says there’s a reason to be optimistic that it won’t be too unhealthy.

“The smoke is really not going to penetrate too far down to the surface, but we’ll see it and smell it,” she says.

Dewey says a storm coming in Tuesday into Wednesday should clear the air out again, but, until then, expect the skies to stay dirty.

“With this system coming, the winds are going to be quite strong,” she says, adding, “We’ll start seeing gusty winds today and even stronger winds tomorrow.  That’s really going to drive the smoke,” Dewey says.