hold your breath...

“Inversion” is a meteorological term that every valley dweller in Northern Utah knows and fears. A layer of warm air sits on a layer of colder air, slamming the cold down like a meat locker door.

It’s a deep, soul-sucking cold. The wind never stirs. Ice crystals wander amid stagnant air. Nothing thaws, not even a trickle.

And it’s gray. The sun does not, in any sense of the word, “shine.” It flickers like a dim bulb.

In Cache Valley, where the tighter valley walls exacerbate the effect, there are times when you can’t see 50 yards. A grim smoke fills in the edges of your vision, made worse by the knowledge that every wisp from every tailpipe, chimney belch, cow fart or exhaled cigarette is floating in this toxic stew.


A prolonged inversion is a natural joke. The punchline? It defies Utah’s clean-cut, caffeine-free, low-calorie image. The Utah winter in the mind’s eye is snowcapped mountains soaring into clear blue skies, and besweatered families cuddling on couches in front of roaring fires while thick flakes fall in the moonlit night. Basically, a York’s Peppermint Patty commercial. But each winter, for at least a few days, the Wasatch Front and Cache Valley make the EPA’s most-wanted list. Children and the elderly are kept indoors. The curtain is drawn on the blue skies and snowy mountaintops and the roaring fires are extinguished by the Red Burn proscription. Utah routinely beats the smog capital of the world, Los Angeles, in this race toward the toxic.


from The inversion-Northern Utah’s deep freeze

by Jeremy Pugh


So what do we do to stear free of the seasonal mood disorder...we pray for snow, even those of us who dislike it with a passion. Storms mean something is happening, stiring the air, and however long they last they are followed by the sun :)


Explore, Jan 16, 2009 #247


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Taken on January 16, 2009