Little Los Angeles

If you squint a little bit and ignore all the snow, downtown St. Paul could easily be mistaken for Los Angeles today. Officials are calling it “haze,” but you may know it better as smog.

Here’s a sample courtesy of the Midwest Hazecam Web site:

stpaul_haze.JPG

We’re not alone. The whole Upper Midwest is breathing foul air today. Right, Milwaukee?

milwaukee_haze.JPG

Minnesota’s air quality today is listed as “unhealthy,” according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

What’s happening here? An “inversion,” in which air doesn’t rise (and disperse) as quickly as you might expect. That’s trapping all the pollution near the ground. Throw in light winds and, voila! We’re Los Angeles.

It’ll be that way until Sunday, according to the experts.

  • bird

    its golden smog.

  • Nicole

    At least it’s not as bad as Phx. The “brown cloud” was in full effect this morning as I drove to work. I long for MSP air quality.

  • http://www.cleanairchoice.org Bob Moffitt

    Let’s use today’s air quality as a teachable moment. The Twin Cities is blessed with cooler temperature, fairly regular west-to-east winds and generally flat topography.

    What if there are some subtle shifts in the weather patterns, and these inversions start occuring more frequently, and the quality of our air becomes poorer and poorer.

    Where is the air pollution coming from? Well, the largest single source is the tailpipes of our vehicles, which is why my organization has been trying to promote cleaner alternatives, conservation and mass transit.

    Bob Moffitt

    Communications Director

    American Lung Association in Minnesota

  • Bob Collins

    One thing I found interesting about the animation: The worst air was when most of us were asleep in the middle of the night.