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Hello, haze: Air quality to remain poor until weekend, meteorologists say

FILE: A poor air quality day makes it hard to see the capitol building in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The haze will be with us through at least Friday, according to meteorologists, when a weak storm system will arrive in northern Utah and hopefully result in improved air quality. 

What to expect

KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman tells Utah’s Morning News on KSL NewsRadio the air remains unhealthy for sensitive groups. 

“The haze and the air quality — it’s getting worse,” he said. 

That trend will continue a few more days. 

“We saw unhealthy air [Monday] to sensitive groups in the Salt Lake Valley and other places as well,” Weyman said. “It’s likely to stay that way for a couple of days. We are looking at a weak storm to come in on Friday. It doesn’t look terribly strong, it doesn’t look like it brings us much snow. …But hopefully enough energy there to help clear the air, mix better air as we approach the weekend.” 

The Utah Division of Air Quality forecasts air quality to be “unhealthy for sensitive groups” Tuesday through Thursdsay, according to its website.  

Why haze and poor air quality happen

According to Utah DAQ, particulate matter produces problematic pollution levels in the late fall and winter months, building up until a storm can move the air out of the Salt Lake Valley and leave blue skies behind. A temperature inversion, in which warm air at higher elevation can trap cooler air in the valley, tends to exacerbate the effect.

At current air quality levels, Salt Lake County residents may not use solid fuel-burning devices, including fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, nor can they use fire pits, fire rings or campfires for open burning. You can select your county at this website to see whether restrictions are in effect for your area. 

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