'Unprecedented': MN air quality 'very unhealthy' into next week

MPCA extends air quality alert through Tuesday amid Canadian wildfire smoke

Air quality alert
Air quality alert
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is calling it an unprecedented long-duration air quality event. The thick plume of Canadian wildfire smoke will persist across Minnesota through this weekend.

MPCA has extended the air quality alert for all of Minnesota through 3 p.m. Tuesday. Air quality will be in the very unhealthy range (purple on the map) for much of Minnesota through the weekend. Details from the MPCA:

Including the cities of Albert Lea, Alexandria, Apple Valley,
Blaine, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Buffalo, Burnsville, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Farmington, Hastings, Mankato, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Northfield, Plymouth, Prior Lake, Ramsey, Rogers, Rosemount, Roseville, Shakopee, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Stillwater, Waconia, White Bear Lake, and Woodbury


WHAT...The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an Air Quality Alert for fine particle pollution. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is expected to reach the Purple or Very Unhealthy category. This will be a long duration and unprecedented significant air quality event for Minnesota.*

WHERE...Central and south central Minnesota.*

WHEN...Through 3 PM CDT Tuesday.*

IMPACTS...The risk of health effects is increased for everyone.*

ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Smoke from Canadian wildfires lingers over most of Minnesota. There will be some slight improvement in air quality throughout Friday and Friday night. However, on Saturday northerly winds behind a cold front will bring more smoke from wildfires located north of the Canadian border in Ontario and Manitoba into Minnesota. This reinforcing batch of heavy smoke is expected to arrive starting Saturday morning. Smoke will continue pouring into the state throughout Saturday and into Sunday. High pressure will build over the area for
Sunday and remain over the area for Monday into Tuesday morning. Smoke will recirculate under the high pressure, leading to prolonged period of heavy smoke. Fine particle levels will begin to improve Tuesday as southerly winds start moving the smoke out of the state. Fine particle levels are expected to reach the Purple AQI category, a level considered very unhealthy for everyone, across north central and south central Minnesota. This
area includes St Cloud, the Twin Cities, and the tribal nation of Mille Lacs. Fine particle levels are expected to reach the Red AQI category, a level considered unhealthy for everyone, across northern and central Minnesota. This area includes Alexandria, Mankato, Albert Lea, and the tribal nations of Upper Sioux and Prairie Island.

Air quality improved slightly across much of Minnesota Friday from the record levels recorded Thursday. It has been good at times in northeastern Minnesota, to very unhealthy in the west.

The Twin Cities air quality index for particulate matter read 153 at 1 p.m., which is in the unhealthy range.

Air Quality Index Friday
Air Quality Index at 1 p.m. Friday
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Thick smoke is still swishing around in slowly shifting winds across Minnesota.

A northerly wind flow this weekend will reinforce the persistent smoke plume as more smoke from the fires drifts south from Canada.

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