Air quality alert for Minnesota; Weekend forecast: Comfy, chance of a Sat. shower

Sunday the coolest day this weekend

Smoke from Canadian wildfires was very dense on Thursday. I could barely see the Minneapolis skyline Thursday afternoon:

Barely visible Minneapolis skyline, due to Canadian wildfire smoke, on July 29, 2021. View is from Bde Mka Ska.
Ron Trenda | MPR News

The IDS Center is slightly to the right of center in the pic.

The smoke isn’t quite as thick today, but it is still of concern. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency continues an air quality alert until 3 p.m. Friday afternoon for all of Minnesota, except for Lake and Cook counties of northeastern Minnesota. The MPCA has indicated that an air quality alert may be needed for portions of the weekend. An air advisory continues until 8 p.m. this Friday in western Wisconsin.

You can check the latest Minnesota air quality reports here. This was the air quality situation at noon today, with the Twin Cities and much of western Minnesota in the unhealthy category:

Air quality at noon on Friday
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Very unhealthy air quality conditions lingered in parts of northwestern Minnesota

Here’s more info on the color codes that are used for air quality:

Air quality categories

Weekend temps

Our average Twin Cities high temperature is 83 degrees on July 31. Highs in the mid 80s are expected in the metro area Saturday, and most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin will reach the 80s:

Saturday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Far northern Minnesota will top out in the 70s.

Saturday dew points will be in the comfortable 50s in most spots, with 60s in the far south:

Saturday 1 p.m. forecast dew points
National Weather Service

Sunday highs will be in the 70s in many areas, with some lower 80s in the far south:

Sunday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Sunday dew points will be very comfortable; in the 40s and lower 50s:

Sunday 1 p.m. forecast dew points
National Weather Service

Spotty Saturday showers?

Minnesota and western Wisconsin could see a few very spotty showers, and possibly an isolated thunderstorm, on Saturday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s High-Resolution Rapid-Refresh (HRRR) forecast model shows the potential rain pattern from Saturday morning through Saturday evening:

HRRR model simulated radar Saturday and Saturday evening
NOAA, via

NOAA’s North American Mesoscale (NAM) forecast model also shows the spotty rain potential on Saturday

NAM model simulated radar Saturday and Saturday night
NOAA, via

You can hear updated weather information for Minnesota and western Wisconsin on the Minnesota Public Radio network, and you can see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

Sunday still looks dry.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on MPR News at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:39 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.

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