Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issues air quality alert for southern half of state including Willmar

The air quality index is expected to reach orange levels across southern Minnesota on Tuesday. The alert will be in place from noon to 8 p.m. People with breathing conditions like asthma or those doing physical activity or work are encouraged to take precautions.

A screenshot of a map imaging the anticipated areas affected by the air quality alert.
Contributed / Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

WILLMAR β€” An air quality alert issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Monday warns that much of southern Minnesota will be under an air quality alert from noon to 8 p.m. today. Affected areas will include Willmar, St. Cloud, Marshall and the Upper Sioux communities as well as the Twin Cities metro and areas farther south including Mankato, Worthington, Rochester and Albert Lea.

According to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Health , ground-level ozone is expected to be high during the afternoon hours and the air quality index is expected to reach the orange levels, meaning the air may be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

People whose health may be affected by unhealthy air quality include those with asthma or other breathing conditions; children and teenagers; people doing extended, heavy, or physical activity such as sports or working outdoors; and healthy people who may be more sensitive to ozone.

The Department of Health encourages people to take precautions such as limiting physical activity and listening to one's body. Those with asthma and other breathing conditions should make sure they have their relief/rescue inhaler with them.

According to the release, ozone is produced on hot sunny days by a chemical reaction between volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen. Southerly winds are transporting pollutants into southern Minnesota. The sunny skies, warm temperatures and low humidity will allow these pollutants to react in the air and produce ground-level ozone.

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