Air quality alert issued in Minnesota through Tuesday night

UPDATE: The alert was canceled for Hennepin County at 5:30 p.m.

With temperatures expected near triple digits Monday, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for the metro and parts of central and southeast Minnesota, effective until 8 p.m. Monday and continuing Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The affected area for Tuesday includes the Twin Cities metro, Rochester and Albert Lea.  

Monday's mix of clear skies, hot temperatures and light winds is expected cause an increase in ground level ozone and bring air quality of unhealthy levels. Additionally, the MPCA says, "pollutants will collect along the warm front that will be located just south of the Twin Cities and contribute to increased ozone."

The air quality is expected to be especially unhealthy for:

  • 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

Ozone concentrations are expect to rise throughout the day before the air quality improves as evening thunderstorms develop in southern Minnesota and the sun lowers. 

The MPCA says everyone should take precautions: 

  • Take it easy and listen to your body
  • Limit, change or postpone your physical activity.
  • If possible, stay away from local sources of air pollution like busy roads and wood fires.
  • If you have asthma, or other breathing conditions like COPD, make sure you have your relief/rescue inhaler with you.
  • People with asthma should review and follow guidance in their written asthma action plan. Make an appointment to see your health provider if you don’t have an asthma action plan.