Soggy and smoggy: Inversion and poor air quality persist through Thursday’s storm


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The recent inversion has made the Salt Lake Valley’s air the worst in the nation and Thursday’s rainstorm did not clear the air.

In fact, the experts say it’s making it even worse.

Thursday afternoon in Downtown Salt Lake City, the spires of the Salt Lake Temple were shrouded by a thick fog and the top floors of the nearby Church office building disappeared into the clouds while drivers strained to see the road ahead.

 “The visibility is horrible right now,” Farmington resident Beki Allen told ABC4 News. “Like everywhere you go you don’t know how far in front of you is the car. The fog is really bad.”  

Lisa Verzella is the Operations Program Leader and a forecaster at the National Weather Service’s Salt Lake City office.

“It’s kind of pea soup-like,” Verzella said. “And it’s just going to intensify the inversion for the next 48 hours or so.” 

Verzella explained that warmer temperatures aloft and a lack of wind with this storm didn’t give us the atmospheric mixing needed to clear out this pollution stew hovering near the ground.

“You just didn’t have the flow to push all of the inversion, all of the pollution out so we still have an inversion,” she explained. “And now we actually have a little more moisture so we have a few more clouds and the fog is sticking around.”

The National Weather Service and the ABC4 Pinpoint Weather Team say there’s a better chance of cleaning with our next storm which is expected to come in late Saturday.


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