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Smog, haze to usher out 2017

SALT LAKE CITY — It appears the last few days of December will lack much to celebrate when it comes to weather, with an inversion setting up to stay and thick fog making travel challenging.

Dense fog in the valley areas near the Great Salt Lake slowed Wednesday morning's commute, and it's expected to be troublesome over the next several days.

As the stagnate weather conditions continue, the Utah Division of Air Quality is forecasting worsening conditions and advising people with respiratory issues to take necessary precautions.

The weather into Sunday is expected to stay locked into a pattern of partly sunny skies, with temperatures climbing into the 40s for daytime highs and dipping into lows in the mid- to upper-20s.

The lackluster weather pattern means no snow to speak of to add to dreary snow levels throughout much of Utah.

Southwest and central Utah are particularly hurting, with numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service showing the Escalante River area and Utah's Dixie struggling with just 17 percent of average snowpack.

"It's not been a good year so far," said Troy Brosten, hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City noted that the winter storms that have hit Utah have been devoid of any high water content. That factor means central and southern Utah are struggling with their lowest or second-lowest observed "snow water equivalent" in 30 years.

Precipitation has largely skipped southeastern Utah as well, standing at just 14 percent of normal, while Tooele County is struggling at 28 percent.

The numbers indicate conditions are better — but with room for improvement — in the Weber-Ogden River Basin, with 69 percent, and Provo-Jordan River Basin, 55 percent.

High-elevation snowpack sits at 84 percent in the northeastern Uintas.

The forecast does not call for any measurable snowfall through the end of the year, and with each passing day, the chances of hitting a normal snowpack become more grim, Brosten said.

"There is still a chance, but we are only at about a 20 percent chance of having a normal snowpack by April 1," he said.