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Minnesota usually sees only two to three of these warnings each year, but we've now experienced 25 of them this year-- and it's only mid-July.

It's a record most of us here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes would prefer we NOT set. Yet, here we are, having just set yet another record when it comes to our weather. Specifically, our air quality-- and the air quality alerts that have been coming fast and furious this year.

In case you haven't heard, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency just issued the 25th air quality alert of the year for Friday, July 14th, 2023. Once again, smoke from those wildfires continuing to burn in Canada is drifting south and impacting the air quality across pretty much the entire state of Minnesota.

According to the MPCA: 

Smoke from wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia will move south across Minnesota following a cold front on Friday. The sinking air associated with the cold front will push smoke elevated in the atmosphere down to the surface and will result in poor air quality.

The MPCA says air quality will gradually improve on Saturday with gradual clearing across Minnesota from north to south. This alert may need to be locally extended, though, depending on how fast the smoke dissipates.

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This alert is in the orange category for most of Minnesota, which isn't quite as severe as the red category, but still carries some considerations, according to the MPCA:

Orange air quality: Unhealthy for sensitive groups

Sights and smells: In areas where air quality is in the orange AQI category due to wildfires, the sky may look hazy and residents may smell smoke even when wildfires are far away.

Health effects: This air is unhealthy for sensitive groups and pollution may aggravate heart and lung disease as well as cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and fatigue.

What to do: People in sensitive groups are encouraged to reduce outdoor physical activities, take more breaks, or do less intense activities to reduce their exposure. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plan and keep their rescue inhalers nearby.

Here's the thing, though: As I mentioned above, this is already the 25th air quality alert Minnesota's been under so far this year, which is a record. The MPCA says up until two years ago, when they issued 21 alerts, they usually averaged about 2 to 3 alerts per season. And we're already at 25 this season, and it's only mid-July. Yikes.

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