Dry through Memorial Day in many areas; Rain chance returns Monday in western Minnesota

Air quality alert includes the Twin Cities Sunday afternoon through Monday.

Most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin had summery temperatures on Saturday, but dew points were not summery at all. Many locations had Saturday afternoon dew points in the 20s and 30s. Some spots in west-central Minnesota reported afternoon dew points in the teens for a while.

The combination of warm temps, low dew points/relative humidity and gusty winds prompted red flag warnings to be issued Saturday afternoon into Saturday evening for northwestern Minnesota and parts of north-central and west-central Minnesota:

Red flag warning until 9 p.m. Saturday
National Weather Service

Here are details of the west-central Minnesota portion of the Saturday red flag warning, plus a fire weather watch for Sunday:

URGENT - FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN 133 PM CDT Sat May 27 2023 ...RED FLAG WARNING FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH THIS EVENING FOR PORTIONS OF WEST-CENTRAL AND WESTERN MINNESOTA... ...FIRE WEATHER WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF WEST-CENTRAL AND WESTERN MINNESOTA FOR SIMILAR CONDITIONS ON SUNDAY... .Winds remain steady out of the south at 10-15mph with gusts from 20-25mph at times as humidities have fallen into the upper teens to lower 20s due to low dew points and warm temperatures. Critical fire weather conditions are expected and any fires that form will have the ability spread quickly. Similar conditions are expected on Sunday in a similar airmass, thus a Fire Weather Watch has been issued for tomorrow as well. MNZ041-042-047-048-054>056-064-280200- /O.NEW.KMPX.FW.W.0004.230527T1833Z-230528T0200Z/ /O.NEW.KMPX.FW.A.0003.230528T1800Z-230529T0200Z/ Douglas-Todd-Stevens-Pope-Lac Qui Parle-Swift-Chippewa- Yellow Medicine- 133 PM CDT Sat May 27 2023 ...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CDT THIS EVENING FOR LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND SUSTAINED WINDS IN WEST-CENTRAL AND WESTERN MINNESOTA... ...FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING FOR LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND SUSTAINED WINDS IN WEST-CENTRAL AND WESTERN MINNESOTA... The National Weather Service in Twin Cities/Chanhassen has issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect until 9 PM CDT this evening. a Fire Weather Watch has also been issued. This Fire Weather Watch is in effect from Sunday afternoon through Sunday evening. * AFFECTED AREA...West-central and western Minnesota. * WIND...South 10 to 15 mph with gusts 20 to 25 mph. * HUMIDITY...15 to 25 percent. * IMPACTS...any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible Red Flag Warnings.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources posts fire danger and burning restriction updates here.

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Air quality alert begins at noon on Sunday

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert for much of eastern Minnesota, beginning at noon on Sunday:

Air quality alert (orange) from noon Sunday through 8 p.m. Monday
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

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

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for east central Minnesota, effective from noon on Sunday, May 28, through 8 p.m. on Monday, May 29. The affected area includes the Twin Cities metropolitan area, St. Cloud, Hinckley, Mankato, Albert Lea, Rochester, and the tribal nations of Prairie Island, Leech Lake, and Mille Lacs.

Ground-level ozone is expected to be high during the afternoon hours on Sunday and Monday, and air quality is expected to reach the Orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) AQI category across east central and southeast Minnesota. Sunny skies, warm temperatures, and low humidity will create an environment favorable for two types of pollutants (Volatile Organic Compounds and Nitrogen Oxides) 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. Ozone levels will be low during the overnight and morning. Air quality will improve on Tuesday, when a weather system will move across the state and bring increased moisture, clouds, and scattered thunderstorms to eastern Minnesota.

People whose health is affected by unhealthy air quality: There are people who are more likely to be affected when ozone pollution reaches an unhealthy level.

  • People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

  • Children and teenagers.

  • People of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors.

  • Some healthy people who are more sensitive to ozone even though they have none of the risk factors. There may be a genetic base for this increased sensitivity.

Health effects: Unhealthy ozone levels can aggravate lung diseases like asthma, emphysema, and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like difficulty breathing deeply, shortness of breath, throat soreness, wheezing, coughing, or unusual fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, use your inhalers as directed and contact your health care provider.

Take precautions: Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy.

  • 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.

Pollution reduction tips: Ozone is produced on hot, sunny days by a chemical reaction between volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen.

  • Reduce vehicle trips and fill the gas tank at dawn or dusk.

  • Encourage use of public transport, or carpool, when possible.

  • Postpone use of gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment on air alert days. Use battery or manual equipment instead.

  • Avoid backyard fires.

Dry weather through Monday in many areas

We’ll have a sun-splashed Sunday in Minnesota and Wisconsin. A ridge of high pressure aloft and a surface high-pressure system to our east will keep rain away.

The upper-level ridging breaks down a bit on Monday, and the surface high-pressure system will shift slightly eastward. Those events will allow a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms to enter western Minnesota on Memorial Day.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale (NAM) forecast model shows the surface pressure pattern and the potential rain pattern from 4 a.m. Sunday to 10 p.m. Monday:

Simulated radar from 4 a.m. Sunday to 10 p.m. Monday
NOAA, via Tropicaltidbits.com

On Tuesday, the chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms will spread across the remainder of Minnesota and into Wisconsin, then unsettled weather will linger through the remainder of the week.

You can find updated weather information for Minnesota and western Wisconsin on the MPR News network

The Saturday afternoon high temperature at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was 84 degrees. The average May 27 Twin Cities high temp is just 73 degrees.

Sunday highs in the Twin Cities metro area will reach the low to mid 80s. Most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin will top out in the 80s on Sunday, with 70s near Lake Superior:

Sunday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Memorial Day highs will be mainly in the 80s as well:

Monday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Once again there will be 70s near Lake Superior.

Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to reach the upper 80s Tuesday through Friday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few spots in the metro area touch 90 degrees on Tuesday or Thursday.

There isn’t any really chilly weather in sight. The NWS Climate Prediction Center shows a tendency for above-normal temps in Minnesota and western Wisconsin next weekend and into the start of the following week:

Temperature outlook June 2 through June 6
NWS Climate Prediction Center

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.