Air quality alert includes metro area today; dense fog advisory this a.m. southern Minnesota

It’ll be another foggy morning across central and southern Minnesota, with some freezing fog in many areas.

Some sidewalks, driveways and roads will be slippery.

There is a dense fog advisory until 8 a.m. this Thursday for much of southern Minnesota and west-central Minnesota:

NWS Twin Cities

Details of the dense fog advisory:

URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
250 AM CST Thu Dec 13 2018

MNZ047-048-054>057-064-065-073>075-082>085-091>093-131400-
/O.CON.KMPX.FG.Y.0009.000000T0000Z-181213T1400Z/
Stevens-Pope-Lac Qui Parle-Swift-Chippewa-Kandiyohi-
Yellow Medicine-Renville-Redwood-Brown-Nicollet-Watonwan-
Blue Earth-Waseca-Steele-Martin-Faribault-Freeborn-
Including the cities of Morris, Glenwood, Madison, Benson,
Montevideo, Willmar, Granite Falls, Olivia, Redwood Falls,
New Ulm, St Peter, St James, Mankato, Waseca, Owatonna, Fairmont,
Blue Earth, and Albert Lea
250 AM CST Thu Dec 13 2018

…DENSE FOG ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 AM CST THIS
MORNING…

* VISIBILITY…Widespread visibilities of a quarter mile or less
are expected to develop and last through the overnight hours.

* IMPACTS…Limited visibilities will make travel difficult.
With temperatures below freezing, freezing fog could lead to
slick spots on area roadways.

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.

There could also be pockets of dense fog in the Twin Cities metro area this morning.

Air quality alert

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency continues the air quality alert for the Twin Cities metro area and much of the southern half of Minnesota until 6 p.m. this Thursday evening:

MPCA

According to the MPCA:

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has expanded the current air quality alert for the Twin Cities and portions of central Minnesota, effective 2 p.m. Tuesday, December 11th through 6 p.m. Thursday, December 13th to include southeast Minnesota. The affected area includes the Twin Cities metro, Willmar, Hutchinson, Mankato, Albert Lea, Rochester, Winona, and the Tribal Nations of Prairie Island and Upper Sioux.

Fine particle levels will continue to be in the Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) category in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and central Minnesota this morning due to stagnant weather conditions. Fine particle levels have also reached the Orange category across southeast Minnesota. Light winds, fog, and a strong inversion have resulted in poor dispersion and air pollutants are accumulating and becoming trapped near the ground.

Poor dispersion conditions will continue over the next couple of days as this plume of fine particles will slowly transports across central and southeast Minnesota.  Fine particle levels in the alert area are expected to remain near or above 100 AQI until Thursday afternoon, when a front moves across the state and brings cleaner air into the region.

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.

A complete Updraft update will be posted around mid-morning.

As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you will also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.