The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for the Twin Cities metro, southwest Minnesota, and south-central Minnesota, effective today (Friday, May 31st) from 12 pm to 9 pm.
The affected area includes the Twin Cities metro, St. Cloud, Mankato, Marshall, Willmar, Hutchinson, Ortonville, and the Tribal Nations of Prairie Island and Upper Sioux.
Air quality is expected to worsen Friday to unhealthy levels. Wildfires in northern Alberta, Canada have produced large amounts of pollutants including smoke, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, which have been carried by the winds into the region over the past several days.
Sunny skies and hot temperatures will cause these pollutants to react in the air to produce high levels of ground-level ozone.
Air Quality Index (AQI) values are expected to climb into the low 100s today in the alert area.
This is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.
Ozone concentrations will gradually rise midday through the afternoon. Air quality will improve Friday evening into the weekend, with thunderstorms expected on Friday evening and cooler air moving in on Saturday.
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