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The Wasatch Front experienced its first "unhealthy for sensitive groups" air quality day of the season on Dec. 3, 2019, due to the inversion.
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Inversion Sets In Along Wasatch Front; Air Quality Ranging From Moderate To Unhealthy

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Tuesday was an “unhealthy for sensitive groups” air quality day along the Wasatch Front, according to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. 

In the Salt Lake City area, though, there were many air quality stations reporting “unhealthy” air, according to realtime information from the exclusive KSL Air Quality Network. Reports of “unhealthy” went as far south as Payson and as far north as Logan.

Some residents said they were feeling the effects of the smog trapped in the inversion.

“It’s kind of hard to run,” said Salt Lake City resident Aaron Nelson, who was out for a morning jog. “I definitely felt like a little itch in my throat this morning – and a little cough.”

It’s something Nelson said can only be explained by the air quality, and he said it caught him by surprise during his usual run at Liberty Park.

“If it’s really bad, I’ll just try to workout inside,” he said.

Thom Carter, with the statewide clean air partnership UCAIR, said the metropolitan areas have built up pollution since the last snowstorm, and it’s all been trapped by the inversion.

“We’ve got another 2½ months of this, so everybody has to be aware that when (the inversion) lid goes on, pollution doubles every day,” he said. “So what you do today is going to affect tomorrow, the next day, the next day.”

The smog will continue building up until another rain or snowstorm, or a significant wind knocks out the polluted air. Then it starts all over again.

“It sucks, but I feel powerless,” Nelson said. “What can I do? Make everyone stop driving and turn the factories off? Like, what can we do?”

“I can walk to work, but I’m lucky,” he added. “Not everyone can.”

Utahns are encouraged to do their part to cut down on pollution during winter months, including walking, carpooling and taking mass transit.

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