Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Dust Storms More Likely In Utah As Drought Persists

Is it possible for another big dust storm, like the one that led to the deaths of eight people on Sunday, to happen again in Utah? University of Utah professor Dr. Kevin Perry says it’s likely because dust storms are “becoming more common.”In order for a big dust event to occur, Dr. Perry says the top layer of the ground, or crust, needs to be disturbed in some way in order for it to blow off when there are high winds. The crust becomes vulnerable with it’s disturbed by wildfires, farming, ATVs or long-time erosion. 


Another big factor in dust pollution is dry lake beds. Perry has done extensive research on the Great Salt Lake and has found that about 750 square miles of dry lake bed have been exposed as the lake continues to shrink. 


Perry says he is very concerned about the impact of dust on Utahns as the exceptional drought conditions persist. He says the deadly storm on Sunday is a very sad example of the threat.

Tyler Hewitt is the web/social media assistant at UPR. He writes stories every day, updates the website and manages the station's Twitter and Facebook pages. Tyler is a senior at Utah State University and is studying public relations, marketing, and psychology. He loves to write, listen to music, play video games, play tennis and hang out with his fiancé and cat, Juno. He is a great plant dad and recently started collecting vinyl records!