Salt Lake Tops Worst Air Quality Charts Despite Recent Rain

Aug 19, 2021, 7:54 AM | Updated: 8:00 am
IQAir said Salt Lake City had the world's worst air quality among major cities on Thursday....
IQAir said Salt Lake City had the world's worst air quality among major cities on Thursday.

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite severe weather that dropped over 6″ of rain in parts of the Beehive State, Utah had some of the world’s worst air quality Thursday morning.

Site IQAir, which partners with the United Nations Environmental Program, U.N. Habitat and Greenpeace, ranked Salt Lake City as having the worst air quality among major cities at 7 a.m.

According to the KSL Air Quality Network, the Wasatch Front had unhealthy air while central and southern Utah saw air that was unhealthy for sensitive groups.

KSL viewers also reported smelling smoke following Wednesday’s severe weather, which forced Millard School District officials to close Delta schools and flooded homes and roads across the state.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service said they were surprised at the smoky conditions that lingered following the rain, but said the cause was the large volume of smoke from fires over Northern California being concentrated by a front moving through the area.

Darren Van Cleave, a science and operations officer for the National Weather Service’s Salt Lake City Office, told KSL.com, “This is so concentrated that rain is not going to provide the mixing necessary to make any difference there and the wind that we’re having is predominantly southwesterly — well, that lines right up with the transport direction of the smoke, so that’s not bringing in cleaner air. … We don’t have a good mechanism to clean it out.”

The NWS tweeted that relief from the smoke may not come until Thursday afternoon.

Air quality is expected to improve to moderate (yellow) conditions in Cache County and eastern Utah, while slight improvements to the unhealthy for sensitive groups (orange) are expected for the Wasatch Front.

Southern Utah will see moderately unhealthy air later Thursday.

Red flag conditions fed a dozen uncontrolled wildfires, including the month-old Dixie Fire and the nearby Caldor Fire in the northern Sierra Nevada that incinerated much of the small rural towns of Greenville and Grizzly Flats.

The Dixie Fire has burned 1,000 square miles — an area 1.2x larger than Salt Lake County.

“This is not going to end anytime soon,” Thom Porter, chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said of the Dixie Fire. “Everybody’s going to be sucking smoke for a long time.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

Two members of USU Aviation program killed in plane crash

Two people died Friday morning in a small airplane crash in Cache County.
1 day ago
Chris Jensen and Chris Wharton have been married for six years....
Mike Anderson

LGBTQ+ community concerned Supreme Court could revisit same-sex marriage

An opinion filed by Justice Clarence Thomas has some people concerned over whether the Supreme Court could reconsider other past rulings, including same-sex marriage and contraception.
1 day ago
Erin Cox

Faith leaders: Abortion conversation has changed, not religious stances

KSL's Erin Cox spoke one-on-one with some of Utah's most influential faith leaders about how their stances on abortion have not changed, but the conversations surrounding them have.
1 day ago
Shara Park

Two Utah Olympians experience ride of a lifetime with Air Force Thunderbirds

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds gave a “Hometown Hero” ride of a lifetime to two of Utah’s Olympians Friday as final preparations are underway for this weekend’s Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show at Hill Air Force Base.
1 day ago
FILE: Image of a pregnant woman. (Deseret News, Sara Reid)...
Ashley Moser

Does Utah adequately fund support for women with unwanted pregnancies?

The number one reason Utah women seek an abortion is socioeconomic, according to statistics from the Utah Department of Health. As KSL's Ashley Moser explains, experts say there are policies lawmakers should consider right now to help women financially.
1 day ago
The Utah State Capitol on Friday, March 25 when the Utah House and Senate voted to overturn a veto....
Larry D. Curtis

BREAKING: Abortion now prohibited in Utah

The Utah law prohibiting abortion, with some exceptions, is now part of Utah legal code according to a notice sent from the Utah State Legislature Friday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Salt Lake Tops Worst Air Quality Charts Despite Recent Rain