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Why it still smells like smoke, even after the rain

Looking to the east from Daybreak in South Jordan on 10400 South, the Wasatch Mountains are just barely visible through the smoky haze on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Photo: Becky Bruce, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — It STILL smells like a wet campfire outside even after three days of rain, with smoke lingering over the Wasatch Front.

We hoped the storm would clean it out, but that might be because we are used to winter storms cleaning out winter inversions. This is different.

“It’s such an odd pattern,” said KSL Meteorologist Kevin Eubank.

It still smells like smoke and there’s more coming

He said in a cold air pool, the storm scours or vents the atmosphere.

“With smoke, because it comes in from the high levels, the rains actually pulled the smoke down and the concentration on the surface was even more intense,” said

The 24-48 hour forecast for smoke shows some thinning on Friday, but more smoke coming in on Saturday and Sunday.

“It comes in waves, and the only way to get rid of it is to put out the fires in California, Washington and Oregon that are producing all of that smoke,” said Eubank.

More smoke, more fires

There are also fires burning to the North West of us in British Columbia, Canada.

The National Weather Service posted a more detailed explanation on Twitter about how smoke and storms work together, and why the air quality and visibility appear so poor this week.

The storm system brought the smoke with it for one thing. And for another, smoke from summer wildfires is different than winter inversion pollution.

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