Air quality alert issued for southern Minnesota

An air quality alert is issued.
An air quality alert is issued.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 9:09 AM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for southern Minnesota from 12 p.m. through 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 23 due to ozone pollution.

The affected area includes the Twin Cities metropolitan area, St. Cloud, Rochester, Mankato, Marshall, and the tribal nations of Mille Lacs, Upper Sioux, and Prairie Island.

According to MPCA, 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 southern Minnesota.

People whose health is affected by unhealthy air quality include:

  • 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.

Precautions to take when the air quality is unhealthy include:

  • 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.

You can learn more information on current air quality conditions in your area here.