Air quality alert continues; cooler Sunday temps

August outlook is updated

We have some good news about the smoke from Canadian wildfires.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:

Fortunately, some rain fell over the most intense wildfires last night and the smoke is less prolific compared to the past 2-3 days.

An air quality alert continues for all of Minnesota through the weekend and on into Tuesday:

Air quality alert map
An air quality alert is in effect for all of Minnesota through Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

The MPCA now expects the air quality to fluctuate mainly between the “unhealthy “ category and the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category over the next couple of days.

Here are details about the air quality alert, from the MPCA:

People whose health is affected by unhealthy air quality

People who are more likely to be affected when fine particle pollution reaches an unhealthy level include:

  • Those with asthma or other breathing conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  • People who have heart disease or high blood pressure

  • Children and older adults

  • Those doing heavy, physical activity outdoors, such playing sports or working, especially for extended periods

Health effects

Air pollution can aggravate heart and cardiovascular disease as well as lung diseases like asthma and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, use your inhalers as directed and contact your health care provider.

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.

Current Minnesota air quality readings can be found here.

An air quality advisory has been issued for Wisconsin this weekend:

Air Quality Advisory Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Madison WI Relayed by National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN 730 PM CDT Fri Jul 30 2021 ...AIR QUALITY ADVISORY ISSUED FOR ALL WISCONSIN COUNTIES... The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has issued an Air Quality Advisory for Particle Pollution which will remain in effect until 12:00 PM CDT Sunday, August 1. This advisory affects people in all Wisconsin counties. Smoke from wildfire activity in Canada currently located in Minnesota will move into Wisconsin overnight Friday into Saturday morning. This smoke plume is expected to mostly impact the northern half of the state. A secondary smoke plume will then transport behind a cold front which is expected to move north to south across the state Saturday afternoon into early Sunday morning. Elevated fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations are anticipated to result in air quality index (AQI) values in the UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS level over this period. Sensitive groups include children, elderly people, individuals with respiratory and cardiac problems, and anyone engaged in strenuous outdoor activities for a prolonged period of time. For more information on current air quality, please see: https://airquality.wi.gov

What the categories mean

A guide to the various air quality categories can be found at airnow.gov:

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Air quality guide
airnow.gov

The more serious air quality categories look like this:

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Air quality guide
airnow.gov

Who has a Saturday evening rain opportunity?

We begin Saturday evening with a few spotty showers in parts of northeastern Minnesota. There are also spotty showers and a few thunderstorms in parts of southeastern Minnesota as well as western Wisconsin. That rain chance could continue in those areas until around sunset, but the Twin Cities metro area can expect a dry Saturday evening.

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.

Temperature trends

Our average Twin Cities high temp is 83 degrees this time of year. The metro area will see highs near 80 on Sunday. Sunday highs will be in the 70s across much of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, with some lower 80s in far southern Minnesota:

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Sunday forecast highs
National Weather Service

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

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

Back to high temps, Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to be around 80 degrees on Monday, followed by mid 80s Tuesday and upper 80s Wednesday. Highs retreat to the mid 80s on Thursday, then return to the upper 80s on Friday.

The August temperature outlook from the NWS Climate Prediction Center shows a tendency for above normal temps in Minnesota and western Wisconsin:

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August temperature outlook
NWS Climate Prediction Center

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any cooler than normal days, but the warmer than normal days will probably outnumber the cool days in August.

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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