What the haze? National Weather Service explains strange haze over So. Utah

ST. GEORGE – The air was hazy over southwest Utah Wednesday due to dust being blown in by a cold front passing through the region, according to the National Weather Service office in Salt Lake City.

The cold front is the focus of a “Hazardous Weather Outlook Alert” issued by the NWS that affects two-thirds of the state and southwest Wyoming. It is projected to last the next seven days.

A spokesman for the NWS said the dust that is causing the haze was kicked up from western deserts by the cold front and is currently suspended in the air but is slowly settling. What’s left of the haze should be gone by sometime Wednesday evening, he said.

Early Wednesday afternoon, the haze obscured visibility in the area outside of downtown St. George. The haze began dissipating as the day progressed, though far-off landmarks, like Pine Valley Mountain, remained partially obscured.

During the day and into the evening, cooler temperatures will spread into the area behind the cold front. There is a potential for localized hard freeze conditions along the Idaho border Wednesday night.

Cooler temperatures will remain through Friday. Freezing nighttime temperatures are a good possibility across many of the affected areas Thursday night through Friday night.

The potential for a hard freeze is a threat to sensitive vegetation, especially across portions of northern and east-central Utah where the growing season has begun. Strong, gusty southwest winds are possible on Sunday across much of the area ahead of the next storm system.

The cold front may largely affect areas north of St. George after Wednesday. The St. George forecast for the next seven days, according to WeatherChannel.com, includes highs running between 70 and 80 degrees and nighttime lows in the mid-40s to low-50s.

Affected areas

West-central Utah; southwest Utah: Utah’s Dixie and Zion National Park; south-central Utah; Glen Canyon Recreation Area/Lake Powell; central mountains; southern mountains; and southwest Wyoming

Cache Valley, northern Wasatch Front, Salt Lake and Tooele Valleys, southern Wasatch Front-Great Salt Lake Desert and mountains, Wasatch Mountain valleys, Wasatch Mountains, Interstate 80 northbound, Wasatch Mountains South of I-80, western Uinta Mountains, Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs, Western Uinta Basin, Castle Country, San Rafael Swell, Sanpete and Sevier valleys

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