SALT LAKE CITY — A collective cry of "Why?" is being heard across northern Utah as residents complain about the thick blanket of smoke that remains despite severe storms rolling through the area.
It was widely expected that smoke from nearby wildfires would be, for lack of a better term, blown away by strong winds connected to storms that caused flooding and school cancellations in Delta.
Unfortunately, it's the hopes and dreams of residents that have been blown away and not the smoke. On Thursday morning at 5:42 a.m., Salt Lake City had the worst air quality in the world and worst, according to IQAir.
The problem? Smoke from nearby wildfires in Northern California is so massive that one storm, no matter how severe, is not enough to clear the skies above Utah.
And talk about bad luck, while the storm actually concentrated the smoke to a smaller area, that area is sitting over heavily populated portions of the state.
The National Weather Service office in Salt Lake City seemed baffled as well, tweeting "Surprised that it's smoky while raining and windy at the same? Us too!"
Surprised that it's smoky while raining and windy at the same? Us too! The reason is the large volume of smoke from fires over Northern California being concentrated by a front moving through the area. This satellite loop tells the story. #utwx pic.twitter.com/sBoZGcs3tH— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) August 18, 2021
Hope may be on the smoky horizon as the NWS says its models show relief possibly coming by Thursday afternoon, but how much relief is not known.
Projecting into the future, our weather model capable of handling smoke is showing little relief until Thursday afternoon. pic.twitter.com/0n30fyz3Db— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) August 18, 2021
The good news: NWS expected the smoke to clear out later on Thursday.