A steamy Thursday afternoon; air quality alert includes the Twin Cities

Our official high temp at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport hasn’t been in the 90s since July 22.

We could see a 90 degree reading later this Thursday afternoon. That’s well above our average Twin Cities high temp of 73 degrees.

Call it “Summer in September.”

Temperature trends

Minnesota highs this Thursday will range from the 60s in far northwestern Minnesota to upper 80s and a few 90 degree readings in the south.

Friday highs will range from 60s north to 80s south:

On Saturday some spots in the northwest could top out in the 50s, but the southeast should see 80s:

Twin Cities highs are expected to around 84 Saturday, then about 70 on Sunday.

Next week starts out with metro area highs in the lower 70s on Monday,  then upper 70s Tuesday and about 80 degrees on Wednesday.

Air quality alert

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert from noon to 8 p.m. this Thursday for the Twin Cities metro area and several counties to the north:

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

According to the MPCA:

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for eastern and central Minnesota effective Thursday, Sept. 14 from 12-8:00 p.m. The affected area includes the Twin Cities Metro, Saint Cloud, Hinckley and the Tribal Nation of Mille Lacs.

Temperatures near 90 degrees, wildfire smoke and plentiful sunshine will combine to create orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) AQI levels. The worst conditions are expected during the afternoon and early evening across the Twin Cities metro area into central Minnesota.

Ozone values should decrease back to yellow (moderate) levels as the sun sets Thursday evening. Wildfire smoke will continue to keep fine particle levels elevated in the yellow category after ozone decreases.

People whose health is affected by unhealthy air quality:  There are people who are more likely to be affected when ozone reaches an unhealthy level. 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.

Health effects: Unhealthy ozone levels can aggravate lung diseases like asthma, emphysema, and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like difficulty breathing deeply, shortness of breath, throat soreness, wheezing, coughing, or unusual fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms use your inhalers as directed and contact your health care provider.

Take precautions: Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy. 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.

Rain chances

Northwestern and north-central Minnesota could see some scattered showers and an isolated thunderstorm Thursday afternoon.

There’s a good chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday night in the north.

On Friday, the best chance of showers and thunderstorms will be in the north during the afternoon, then the activity could spread into central and southern Minnesota overnight Friday night.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential rain pattern this afternoon through Friday evening;

NOAA NAM simulated radar from noon Thursday through Friday evening, via tropicaltidbits

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible statewide on Saturday, with periods of showers and thunderstorms likely Saturday night.

Sunday looks dry.

Drought update

The latest update from U.S. Drought Monitor shows that the worst drought conditions continue over Montana and the western parts of North Dakota and South Dakota:

U.S. Drought Monitor/USDA/NOAA/University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Parts of northwestern Minnesota are now in severe drought.

The severe drought area includes parts of eastern Marshall County, northern Beltrami County, the far southern part of Lake of the Woods County and a small part of west-central Koochiching County:

U.S. Drought Monitor/USDA/NOAA/University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Moderate drought covers most of the remainder of northwestern Minnesota, according to U.S. Drought Monitor.

Northwestern Minnesota could see a bit of drought relief over the next few days.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.