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App allows Utahns to monitor poor air conditions

By Jed Boal | Posted - Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 8:43pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The air has looked terrible in Northern Utah for more than a week, and there is now an app available to track the pollution levels.

The smog looks like a thick, immovable blanket, but the pollution levels fluctuate around the clock. A breeze, not strong enough to blow the pollution out, can slosh it around like thick liquid in a bowl.

"The pollution numbers in those areas can concentrate and they can go up," said Air Monitoring Manager, Bo Call. "They go down in areas where the wind has been cleaning out a little bit."

The UtahAir app, launched by the Utah Division of Air Quality in November, gives Utahns real time data, and it has already been downloaded 10,000 times.

"People are really anxious to see what's going on," Call said.

Utahns can click through the nine county pages to get a three-day forecast, and an air quality rating ranging from from green to red which is unhealthy. The big number measures PM 2.5 which is tiny particulate matter that gets stuck in our lungs. When that number hits 55, pollution levels are unhealthy.

"You can get a lot of information from the trend charts," Call said. "Is there a time of day, even though the air is pretty ugly today, is there a time of day that I can exercise and do my stuff outside that would be better for me than other times of the day? Residents are becoming more educated and when you become more educated, you need more information."

Jed Boal

KSL Weather Forecast