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Dry air in Utah same as Sahara Desert, study says
January 20, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah cities were featured on a list of the top ten cities with the driest air in the United States.

Salt Lake City took to the No. 8 spot and Ogden came in at No. 9 on a list of cities with the driest air, according to Vick's Moisture Map. Scientists working on the project said the cities' humidity levels can drop to 10 percent in the winter, which is the same humidity of air in the Sahara Desert.

The driest city in America was deemed to be Albuquerque, N.M., with Colorado Springs and Denver coming in second and third place.

A combination of cold, dry air and over-heated homes can cause itchy or scaly skin, according to The Center for Disease Control & Prevention. They estimate 81 million Americans are affected by these symptoms during the winter.

Low humidity levels in winter months can also cause a spike in the number of people who get the flu, said senior scientist Ted Myatt in a statement. The the National Institutes of Health has said there is evidence that the flu virus survives longer in dry air.

"New scientific research indicates keeping your home's relative humidity levels between 40 to 60 percent can decrease influenza survival in the air and on countertops, doorknobs, and other surfaces," Myatt said in a statement. "That's why it's so important to check your humidity levels and increase indoor humidity with a humidifier."

Top 10 U.S. Cities with the Driest Air:

  1. Albuquerque, N.M.
  2. Colorado Springs, Colo.
  3. Denver, Colo.
  4. Las Vegas, Nev.
  5. Phoenix, Ariz.
  6. Tucson, Ariz.
  7. Minneapolis, Minn.
  8. Salt Lake City, Utah
  9. Ogden, Utah
  10. Madison, Wis.
Top 10 Most Humid Cities:

  1. Quillayute/Forks, Wash.
  2. Mount Washington, N.H.
  3. Astoria, Ore.
  4. Port Arthur, Texas
  5. Lake Charles, La.
  6. Corpus Christi, Texas
  7. Victoria, Texas
  8. Brownsville, Texas
  9. Houston, Texas
  10. Olympia, Wash.