Despite a strong weekend storm, Utah’s air is getting dirtier.
Much of the state is sitting under polluted skies with no immediate end in sight. Across the Wasatch Front — and even beyond — we may be in for several days of air that’s not entirely fit for breathing.
“We’re definitely in an inversion,” said Donna Kemp Spangler, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. “Pollution from automobiles, home heating, businesses, industry is really just making the air pollution bad.”
The inversion comes after a whopper of a storm over the weekend that pounded much of the state. You’d think that might have cleared things up.
“I think it helped,” said Spangler.
Just not enough.
“It has to have the right meteorological conditions which is not just snow falling,” Spangler said. “It actually has to have a punch to it, a little bit of a wind system going to actually push the pollution out.”
So now, with no imminent storms, people in Utah are stuck with smoggy air that isn’t getting any better. The inversion is visible from almost anywhere. Kristy Conlin saw it Tuesday afternoon when she brought her out-of-town friends to an overlook above Salt Lake City.
“My friend from Brazil said, oh, there’s these clouds so we can’t see anything,” Conlin said. “When I told her it was an inversion, she was very surprised.”
Of course, it’s not just tough to look at. For children and others who are sensitive to pollution, it can be hazardous.
“We’re talking about really small particulate pollution that gets lodged in your lungs,” said Spangler.
Officials urge people to cut down on driving and wood burning — small things that can make a difference. Staying inside can help, too, if things get really bad. But as of now, Conlin isn’t there yet.
“You have to live still, I guess,” she said, looking out over the valley. “You can still see the organization of the city so it’s good.”
You can follow the air quality across the state by clicking here.