MPCA extends air quality alert into Friday night

The air quality alert for east-central and southeastern Minnesota has been extended into Friday night.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) says the alert will now run through 9 p.m. Friday for all of the Twin Cities metro area, reaching up past Hinckley and nearly out toward Alexandria and all the way to the Iowa border.

Ground-level ozone pollution is cited as the reason for the extended alert, as the air quality is expected to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups.

The good news is the low-pressure system that’s expected to arrive over the weekend should bring an end to the high ozone concentrations, the agency says.

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Various air quality alerts have been in place for much of the state since midday Tuesday.

Officials say unhealthy ozone levels can aggravate conditions like asthma, emphysema and COPD, and cause trouble breathing, throat soreness, coughing or unusual fatigue for some.

Minnesotans, especially those with any health conditions and the elderly, are urged to limit outdoor activity during periods of poor air quality.

The MPCA has more information on the alert online, and the latest air quality condition can be found here.