Many of us have been waiting for more than two weeks for mild weather to return, but those in vulnerable groups – the very young, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions – are being warned to limit outdoor activities over the next two days.
At 3 p.m. today (Feb. 19), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a Code Orange Air Quality Alert to be in effect from 6 p.m. today through noon Sunday, Feb. 21 for much of east central and southeast Minnesota, including Wright County.
According to the MPCA, “Air quality is expected to worsen beginning Friday evening, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasted to reach Orange or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category. Light winds and poor atmospheric mixing will produce an increased level of fine particles beginning Friday evening through the overnight, and into Saturday. Southerly winds on Saturday will transport more fine particles into Minnesota through Sunday morning. This is expected to produce AQI values in the Orange or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category the duration of the alert period. Air quality will gradually improve Sunday morning as a weather disturbance moves across Minnesota, which will improve dispersion and bring in clear air from the west.”
While the Code Orange Alert won’t impact most people, it is issued for the vulnerable populations when the AQI is expected to reach or exceed 101 – a level considered unhealthy for those with lung disease, asthma and heart disease, as well as children and older adults. Those groups are advised to limit prolonged or heavy exertion.
For information on current air quality conditions in your area or to sign up for daily forecasts and alert notifications, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/air/current-air-quality.