Updated: February 19, 2021 04:28 PM
Created: February 19, 2021 03:20 PM
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert for parts of Minnesota through this weekend.
The affected area includes the Twin Cities metro, St. Cloud, Rochester, Albert Lea, Winona and the tribal nation of Prairie Island.
According to the MPCA, air quality is expected to worsen starting Friday night, with light winds and poor atmospheric mixing expected to produce an increased level of fine particles. Southerly winds on Saturday will then transport more fine particles into the state.
Air Quality Index values are expected to be in the orange or "unhealthy for sensitive groups" category over the weekend before conditions gradually begin to improve Sunday morning.
The MPCA said the following people are most likely to be affected by the worse air quality:
The agency added that air pollution can aggravate heart and cardiovascular disease, as well as lung diseases like asthma and COPD, leading to symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and fatigue. Anyone experiencing symptoms is urged to use an inhaler as directed and contact a health provider.
The MPCA also urged all Minnesotans to take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy, and offered the following tips:
The main sources of fine particle pollution is any activity that uses fuel, the MPCA said. Conserving energy and buying clean, renewable energy are great lifestyle choices to help reduce overall pollution. Some tips to reduce pollution include:
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