Air quality alert issued for parts of central and southern Minnesota

Air quality alert issued for parts of central and southern Minnesota (Credit Minnesota Pollution Control Agency )

An air quality alert has been issued for parts of central and southern Minnesota starting Tuesday afternoon and lasting into the evening.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued an alert beginning at noon and lasting until 8 p.m. for the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Rochester, Mankato, Marshall, and the tribal nations of Mille Lacs, Upper Sioux, and Prairie Island.

The alert is due to warm and stagnant air mass allowing pollutants to reach the ground-level ozone causing the air quality to be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

"Southerly winds are transporting pollutants into the state. Sunny skies, warm temperatures, and low humidity will allow these pollutants to react in the air to produce ground-level ozone," explained MPCA. "Ozone will be highest during the afternoon and early evening hours when sunshine is most abundant, and temperatures are highest."

To reduce additional air pollutants, the DNR said burning permits will not be activated Tuesday, open burning is not allowed, and campfires are discouraged in the areas under the air quality alert.  

MPCA says everyone should take precautions when the air quality is at an unhealthy level such as limiting physical activity outdoors and avoiding local sources of pollutants like busy roads and wood fires. 

However, people who are most affected by unhealthy air quality include: 

  • People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.
  • Children and teenagers.
  • People of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors.
  • Some healthy people who are more sensitive to ozone even though they have none of the risk factors. There may be a genetic base for this increased sensitivity.

The MPCA explained unhealthy ozone levels can aggravate various lung diseases and people with these conditions may experience symptoms like difficulty breathing deeply, shortness of breath, throat soreness, wheezing, coughing, or unusual fatigue.

Visit MPCA’s air quality alert page for more information on current air quality conditions. 


Minnesota weather: Toasty with an air quality alert

It'll be toasty on Tuesday, with some air quality issues in central and southern Minnesota.