Cold temps in Top of Utah may last until March

Jan 8 2013 - 6:46am

Images

Dre Layson runs with his dogs Panda and Shiva down Washington Boulevard in Ogden on Monday. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)
A rough-legged hawk perches on a sign at Farmington Bay on Friday. Wildlife can suffer in cold temperatures.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
The inversion cloud is visible in the Wasatch Front looking north toward Ben Lomond peak below from the Snowbasin ski resort boundary on Saturday. Cold temperatures can trap air pollution in the Top of Utah’s bowl-shaped valleys. (ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner)
Dre Layson runs with his dogs Panda and Shiva down Washington Boulevard in Ogden on Monday. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)
A rough-legged hawk perches on a sign at Farmington Bay on Friday. Wildlife can suffer in cold temperatures.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
The inversion cloud is visible in the Wasatch Front looking north toward Ben Lomond peak below from the Snowbasin ski resort boundary on Saturday. Cold temperatures can trap air pollution in the Top of Utah’s bowl-shaped valleys. (ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- Continued freezing temperatures through the remainder of the week will make the outdoors unfit for man and beast. And the below-freezing nighttime temperatures may not break until March, according to one official.

The air quality isn't doing much for anyone either, as Northern Utah remains under a health alert from a weeklong bout of concentrated air pollution.

The Utah Division of Air Quality renewed the alert Monday for the entire Wasatch Front -- Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Cache and Utah counties.

Officials say an atmospheric inversion is trapping cold air and pollutants in Northern Utah's bowl-shaped mountain valleys. Authorities are prohibiting wood burning and are urging people to limit driving.

The air, in addition to being dirty, is also freezing cold.

Temperatures in the Ogden valley, with the exception of a daytime high of 36 degrees on Wednesday, are to remain below freezing up until at least Sunday, according to National Weather Service officials.

"The rest of the month (of January) the nighttime lows should be at an average of 22 degrees," National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney said.

McInerney said, based on a 30-year average, Salt Lake City should expect below-freezing nighttime temperatures through March 7. Officials anticipate those temperatures to be even colder in the higher elevations.

Those freezing forecasts are also a concern to Division of Wildlife Resource officials.

The fat reserve for Northern Utah's wildlife population going into the winter was high. But despite that, consecutive days of freezing temperatures without a thaw can take a toll on the state's wildlife, said Phil Douglass, Division of Wildlife Resources Conservation Outreach manager.

"Weather is the wildcard when it comes to wildlife management," he said.

"Some losses are inevitable," Douglass said of the Northern Utah wildlife population being unable to survive consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures.

Outdoor recreation enthusiasts are advised to keep their distance from wildlife during the winter, he said. A stressed animal or fowl shouldn't expend the last of its energy reserve fleeing from a person; rather it should use that reserve to survive the cold, Douglass said.

"We ask people to be aware of wildlife management areas while recreating," he said.

"We do see some years when we lose some fawns," Douglass said. "But we don't want to lose the adult population that keeps the deer herd vibrant."

The good news, he said, is as the days get longer, temperatures are progressively going to get warmer.

During the winter, the state also loses deer as a result of the herds being migratory in nature and having to cross roadways that dissect their migratory routes, Douglass said.

"There are losses that occur there as well," he said, but the condition of the state's deer herd going into the winter seems to be pretty good.

Douglass said:

"We don't anticipate a very big loss this year."

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