It’s another day of sketchy air quality across much of the Upper Midwest.
Light southerly winds have transported pollution into Minnesota from the south. Wildfire smoke is elevated across Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. A cold front pushing in from the north will push some of that smoke down to ground level Tuesday night.
Air quality readings Tuesday afternoon are in the moderate category across most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
But readings could rise into the unhealthy for sensitive groups category at times into Tuesday evening. An air quality alert remains in effect until 8 p.m for most of central and southern Minnesota, including the greater Twin Cities area.
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439 PM CDT Mon May 22 2023
...AIR QUALITY ALERT IN EFFECT FROM 12 PM CDT TUESDAY THROUGH 8 PM CDT TUESDAY... WHAT...The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an Air Quality Alert for ozone pollution. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is expected to reach the Orange or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category.
WHEN...From 12 PM CDT Tuesday through 8 PM CDT Tuesday.
IMPACTS...Sensitive groups, such as people with lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, children and older adults, and people who are active outdoors may experience health effects.
ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Ground-level ozone is expected to be high during the afternoon hours on Tuesday, and air quality is expected to reach the Orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) AQI category across central Minnesota. Southerly winds are transporting pollutants into the state. Sunny skies, warm temperatures, and low humidity will allow these pollutants to react in the air to produce ground- level ozone. Ozone will be highest during the afternoon and early evening hours when sunshine is most abundant, and temperatures are highest. Air quality is expected to reach the Orange AQI category. This is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... Sensitive groups, such as people with lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, children and older adults, and people who are active outdoors, should limit prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. Reduce or eliminate activities that contribute to air pollution, such as outdoor burning, and use of residential wood burning devices. Reduce vehicle trips and vehicle idling as much as possible.
Here’s Tuesday’s air quality forecast discussion from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:
Updated Tue, May 23, 2023
An air quality alert is in effect today from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. due to ozone for southern Minnesota. Southerly winds have transported background pollutants into the state. Sunny skies, warm temperatures, and low humidity will produce and environment favorable for these pollutants to react in the air and create ground-level ozone. Air quality may reach the Orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) AQI category across the southern half of the state today. Widespread light smoke is also expected to linger statewide, producing Yellow (moderate) AQI values for fine particles for most of the state. A cold front will dive south late this afternoon. A brief period of ground-level smoke may occur across far northern MN behind this front. This smoke will be present for just a few hours during the overnight hours. A cleaner airmass will move into the state tomorrow, winds will become northerly, and air quality should return to the Green (good) category for most of the state.
Air quality improves Wednesday
A cold front will push southward through Minnesota Wednesday. The shift to northeast winds will push much of the pollution and smoke toward the southwest and away from Minnesota.
Air quality should return into the good range across most of eastern Minnesota Wednesday into Thursday.
The wildfire smoke plume aloft will still linger across parts of the Upper Midwest later this week, but near-surface smoke will also be pushed away to the southwest.
Here’s the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’ Rapid Refresh model forecast at 10 p.m. Tuesday evening:
Here’s the forecast for 4 a.m. Thursday:
Expect air quality and visibility to improve as we move through this week.