Thank Utah for the local haze |

Thank Utah for the local haze

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” People who woke Monday to hazy skies obscuring the horizon may have thought fire, but it was actually dust.

“It’s a dusty haze,” said Joe Ramey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Grand Junction office. “We watched it getting kicked up (Sunday) on satellite imagery.”

The haze was visible throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, from Glenwood to Aspen, on Monday.

The dust blew in from the deserts of Utah, hundreds of miles away. Winds of about 15 to 20 mph and gusts up to 50 mph stirred up dust, and a cold front carried it into Colorado late Monday afternoon, Ramey said. Winds in the area of Glenwood Springs were almost as strong as those in Utah.

The dust could have made it as far south as Montrose and north to the Wyoming border. It was still creating a haze around Grand Junction Monday and out west to at least Moab, Ramey said.

The Glenwood Springs Fire Department received at least a few calls from people asking about fires.

“It looks like smoke from fires,” said Oscar McCollum, a local who watches and records the weather for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.

It’s not uncommon at all to see dust carried long distances by strong winds, he said. McCollum remembers seeing red dust that came to Kansas from the panhandle of Texas 600 miles away during the drought of the 1930s.

“It got so heavy that in the city the street lights came on at noon,” he said.

The haze surrounding Glenwood Springs Monday wasn’t nearly that bad.

“It’s somewhat hazy,” he said. “It’s not as bad as I’ve seen it after those fires last summer.”

A red flag warning was in effect Monday, meaning fire danger was high. There was also a wind advisory for the Interstate 70 corridor from DeBeque to Eagle. The weather service predicted a 20 to 25 mph winds would gust as high as 45 mph Monday. Tuesday’s winds were expected to be calmer ” at around 15 to 20 mph.

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