Foggy start for some; air quality alert until noon

Light winds overnight allowed the temperature to drop to the dew point in parts of Minnesota.

Areas of dense fog developed, and a dense fog advisory continues until 9 a.m. this Sunday morning in portions of northern and east-central Minnesota:

NWS Duluth

Details of the dense fog advisory, from the Duluth office of the National Weather Service:

URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Duluth MN
455 AM CDT Sun Aug 12 2018

…DENSE FOG THIS MORNING…

MNZ018-019-025-026-033>038-121400-
/O.NEW.KDLH.FG.Y.0007.180812T0955Z-180812T1400Z/
North Itasca-Central St. Louis-North Cass-South Itasca-South Cass-
Crow Wing-Northern Aitkin-South Aitkin-Carlton/South St. Louis-
Pine-
Including the cities of Bigfork, Hibbing, Walker, Grand Rapids,
Pine River, Brainerd, Hill City, Aitkin, Duluth, Pine City,
and Hinckley
455 AM CDT Sun Aug 12 2018

…DENSE FOG ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM CDT THIS MORNING…

The National Weather Service in Duluth has issued a Dense Fog
Advisory, which is in effect until 9 AM CDT this morning.

* LOCATION…Portions of northern Minnesota.

* VISIBILITIES…A quarter mile or less.

* TIMING…Through 9 AM.

* IMPACTS…Limited visibilities will make travel very difficult.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Dense Fog Advisory means visibilities will frequently be
reduced to less than one quarter mile. If driving…slow down…
use your headlights…and leave plenty of distance ahead of you.

Patchy areas of fog are expected this morning in the Twin Cities metro area.

Updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and updates are also posted on the MPR News live weather blog.

Air quality alert 

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control agency, smoke from wildfires in western Canada is causing air quality levels in Minnesota that are unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as people with asthma or COPD.

An air quality alert continues until noon this Sunday for all of Minnesota:

MPCA

Details of the air quality alert were posted Friday by the MPCA:

Smoke from wildfires in western Canada will continue to affect Minnesota Friday afternoon and evening. Air Quality Indices (AQIs) in the orange category will spread eastward across northern Minnesota Friday evening, making air quality unhealthy for sensitive groups. AQIs will also be orange across far western Minnesota Friday evening as smoke continues to sit over that region.

Meanwhile a thick blanket of smoke is expected to arrive in the upper-levels of the atmosphere this afternoon and evening across southern parts of the state. However, smoke is not expected to impact air quality from St Cloud, to the Twin Cities and Rochester until midday Saturday. Periods of smoke and orange AQIs will linger over the state Saturday night before a south wind brings in cleaner air by Sunday afternoon.

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

  • People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • People who have heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Children and older adults
  • People of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors

Health effects: Air pollution can aggravate heart and cardiovascular disease as well as lung diseases like asthma and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or 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 level.
  • 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.

Pollution reduction tips: The main sources of fine particle pollution is any activity that uses fuel. Conserving energy and buying clean, renewable energy are great lifestyle choices to help reduce overall pollution.

  • Reduce vehicle trips.
  • Encourage use of public transport, or carpool, when possible.
  • Postpone use of gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment on air alert days. Use battery or manual equipment instead.
  • Avoid backyard fires.

For information on current air quality conditions in your area and to sign up for daily air quality forecasts and alert notifications by email, text message, phone, or the Minnesota Air mobile app visit MPCA’s Air Quality Index webpage. You can find additional information about health and indoor and outdoor air quality at the agency’s Air Quality and Health webpage.

Temperature trends

Warmer than normal highs are on tap for this Sunday afternoon:

Some spots in far northwestern Minnesota could reach the mid 90s.

Most of Minnesota will top out in the upper 80s to around 90, but it will be a bit cooler near Lake Superior.

It’ll be steamy, with afternoon dew points in the upper 70s to lower 70s in southern, central and northwestern Minnesota.

Twin Cities high temps are expected to be around 90 this Sunday afternoon, and 91 on Monday.

Metro area highs will probably be in the lower 80s Tuesday and Thursday, and around 80 on Wednesday.

An updated Updraft blog with details on Tuesday rain chances will be posted later this morning.

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.