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Weather Inversion: What’s it All About?

If there is one thing that is both a blessing and a curse in Salt Lake City, it would be the weather – the cold can be cold, and summer will melt you. The air can be so dry sometimes that you have to invest in boxes and boxes of lip balm. The most challenging part of the climate in SLC is what is known as weather inversion.

Inversion What?

Weather inversion is a phenomenon that happens in SLC, among other places, during December and February. In normal conditions, air tends to be warmer on lower ground. During a weather inversion, the cold air gets trapped under the warm air. This can happen so fast, although Salt Lake City has a system that notifies residents about a possible weather inversion. In most cases, the inversion occurs after a snowstorm.

In most cases, the inversion is not the only problem. Once it occurs, it can also lead to freezing rain or an ice storm. As the snow falls, it passes through the warm layer ending up at the cold layer near the ground. This layer causes the snow to become super-cooled, which leads to the ice storm.

If you would carefully study the different places where an inversion happens, you would notice that it is typically in areas surrounded by mountains. The geographical setting also plays a role. Because of the mountains, the cold air has nowhere to go and gets trapped.

stormy weather in the field

Smog is another result of the weather inversion. This is more common in SLC compared to ice storms. During an inversion, you would notice a thick smog close to the ground. This can make it difficult for some people to breathe properly. During extended inversions, the smog can cover entire cities. This is what happened in 1952 when a weather inversion happened in London. During this time, residents were using coals, so all the particulates were trapped in the air causing the spread of the smog. The same thing happened in Mexico City and gave it poor air quality.

Health Problems

This phenomenon creates a risk of fine particulates and pollution being inhaled by residents. These particulates can enter through the nose and get lodged in your lungs. It can lead to wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. It can be quite dangerous for those who have heart problems as well as those who have asthma. It is during times like this that a good air conditioner would be of great help.

What Can You Do?

There are two ways you can handle weather inversion – preventive and curative. Since inversion is a common phenomenon in Salt Lake City, you have to be ready in advance. Make sure that you have replaced your air filter. If needed, get an air conditioner repair specialist near your Salt Lake City home to ensure that your HVAC is working well. If an inversion is already happening, the smartest way to go about it is not to go out. SLC typically provides text messages and other notification so you would have an idea of when you can go out and when you should stay home.

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