Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Joshua James and his daughter, Mia, brave the wind in Salt Lake City on Thursday.

SALT LAKE CITY — Air quality was raised to "yellow" condition Wednesday afternoon as strong winds preceded a cold front that moved across the Great Salt Lake.

According to the National Weather Service's Salt Lake office, winds were expected to hit 60 mph, picking up all sorts of dust blowing in from the western desert. Thunderstorms and microbursts dotted the Wasatch Plateau and the Uinta Mountains Wednesday, with snow expected above 8,000 feet in the north.

"We get these south winds preceding the front like we've seen often in the spring," said Bryce Bird, planning branch manager for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. "As the front approaches, it gets bad right before that because we get winds blowing, and it concentrates right here."

According to Bird, the yellow caution flag was primarily raised as a warning to those residents who suffer from health conditions.

"It is a natural event," Bird said. "Here, it was more of a warning to let people know. People with respiratory problems, they would not want to be out exercising."

Air conditions should improve throughout Thursday.

"It tends to clear out once the front hits," Bird said.

The topsy-turvy episodes of sun followed by clouds and rain experienced so far this summer have been testing the patience of many who work at outdoor recreational sites and resorts.

"It affects us, no question," said Bruce Lloyd, owner of Cherry Hill Water Park. "People like it to be over 70 degrees. If the temperature drops 20 degrees, that clears the park and they don't come back."

Lloyd is hoping that things will balance out this summer in terms of the amount of sun, as has been the case in years past.

"Well, the thing is, is if we have a wet June, we will have a great August," Lloyd said. "You just kind of take the good with the bad."

For all the weather forecasters, young children, lifeguards, park owners and vacationers, hopes are that July and August will bring more sun and pleasant weather instead of dust and thunderstorms.

e-mail: danng@desnews.com