Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Utah Inversion - aka Smog

So here in Utah, the Wasatch Front, we are victims of some unmerciful smog from November to March. The air is so cold and dirty, and the warm air holds this in (kinda like a warm lid over a cold pot. We call it inversion; the snow reflects the heat, rather than absorbing it, so it's also stinking cold. We get fog, with very low visibility - causing accidents quite frequently. There's nowhere for the pollutants to go, and so the air quality index is horrible. I think twice last week we had the worst index in the US. And because we're in between the mountains and the lakes, the crap stays in the air until a strong wind comes through - not a snowstorm, that just keeps the crap in the air. We seldom see the sun, and if we do, it's a moment of celebration.

Now, you can go to higher elevations to get out of this crap - say skiing or a day in the mountains, but most folks live in the valley, so we can run, but we can't hide.

This type of weather makes lots of people sick - we call it the Utah Crud. My friend from China talked about the pollution being so bad in his city that wearing a face mask is the norm, and taking one's shoes off before entering a house has practical purposes too - that of keeping pollutants out of the home.

I have a case of the crud right now - seems like my lungs and bronchial tubes are just shut tight. I have constant post-nasal drip, a barky cough, and a fear of going outside; it's just not healthy. My mom is sick, lots of folks - the very young and the very old, are hospitalized with it, and while decongestants and cough syrup help the effects of, nothing but a good windy storm, can clear the external and internal air. We're encouraged to drive less and drive cars that emit less emissions, but reality is - we have a long skinny heavily populated strip of land, with no where to expand, and the more populated the area becomes, the harsher the effects.

Folks get pretty depressed - we need our sunlight, strong healthy rays, and we need our fresh air, and waiting for either reminds me of Ray Bradbury's short story, "All Summer in a Day." (It's a great short movie as well.)

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