Northern Utah's skies didn't receive a visit by any haze-busting storm Monday, as was hoped. In fact, a haze-thinning impulse was all that arrived, and now the weekend is probably is next best chance for another storm and clear skies. However, Salt Lake City did set an unusual record Monday — a precipitation mark.
Starting Christmas Day and continuing through Monday, Salt Lake received a trace or more of precipitation for those 26 straight days, with two weeks' worth of fog, haze and polluted air included in those three-and-a-half weeks.
That broke the old record of 24 consecutive days, set Nov. 17-Dec. 10, 1983.
According to Mike Conger, forecaster with the National Weather Service's Salt Lake forecast office, that precipitation mark will likely not continue today, though there is a 20 percent chance of light snow for Tuesday.
"We're not going to improve greatly over the next few days," he said. Monday's weak storm did stir the inversion a little and improved air quality, but haze and low clouds will build again.
"We need a big storm," he said.
Saturday is predicted to have a 30 percent chance of snow, and that's the next hope.
Len Randolph, KSL meteorologist, also believes Saturday is probably the next best chance for a storm to clear out the valley's stagnant air. That's also his prediction for the first chance at above-freezing temperatures in a long time.
Salt Lake's high Monday was 27 degrees; Provo was also 27, Pleasant Grove 31, Snowbird 35, Logan 19, Moab 37 and St. George 48.
Salt Lake hasn't been above freezing since Jan. 2, and the all-time record for consecutive days of below freezing temperatures is 18, set from Dec. 20, 1990, into early 1991. We will likely tie that record today and could add three days to that mark, since Saturday is also the best chance for temperatures above 32 degrees.
"We are definitely in the deep freeze," Randolph said.
However, he said two weeks of little or no snow in the mountains has decreased snowpack averages in Northern Utah from 140 percent to 109 percent now.
Utah County's air quality has improved to "moderate" under "green" burn conditions. Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties have "yellow" burn conditions and "unhealthy" air quality. Cache County has "red" burn and "unhealthy" air conditions.
That means children, the elderly and those with heart and respiratory disease should reduce their activity outdoors in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties. In Cache, everyone should reduce their exertion outdoors. Utah County currently has no health advisory.