Minnesota weather: Air quality alert; steamy this weekend

An air quality alert has been issued for the entire state of Minnesota Thursday through Friday due to wildfire smoke blowing in from Canada. 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued the air quality alert that took effect at midnight Thursday and is set to run until 11 p.m. on Friday for the whole state. A cold front is bringing heavy ground-level smoke from the wildfires across the entire state, with the MPCA noting it'll reach the Twin Cities around noon and southern Minnesota by about 3 p.m. on Thursday. 

While, initially, officials believed the alert would reach "red" level, the projection now puts most of northern Minnesota in an orange alert for Friday.

People may experience eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, dizziness or fatigue. It may also worsen conditions for those in sensitive groups. 

The MPCA encourages people to reduce or eliminate activities that contribute to air pollution (outdoor burning) and reduce vehicle trips. People would also reduce time outdoors, keep windows closed, and limit outdoor physical activity. 

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