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You might want to dig out one of those masks we all had to wear during much of the pandemic in Minnesota today, but the reason why doesn't have anything to do with the coronavirus.

We've all heard a lot about how our hazy sunsets and sunrises here in southeast Minnesota recently and while they have certainly been scenic at times, are all a result of smoke from distant wildfires burning out west and up in Canada. (Some of those fires north of the border even caused the US Forest Service to close portions of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness earlier this week too.)

So,  yeah, those wildfires are never good news. But now they have the very real possibility to affect us more personally here in Minnesota, as well. Which is why the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued an Air Quality Alert for just about all of the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Wednesday, including Rochester and southeast Minnesota.

The MPCA explained what's happening like this:

Heavy smoke from distant wildfires was transported into northern MN by north winds overnight. Winds have become light across the region, and the poor dispersion is leading for prolonged smoke levels. That smoke is expected to move into southeast MN later this afternoon, and air quality will be moderate at best overall today across southeast MN.

The MCPA went on to say that Minnesotans who are included in sensitive groups, like people with lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, as well as children and older adults, could all face more severe respiratory issues today. The MPCA advises Minnesotans affected to stay inside and avoid outdoor activities, especially those involving exercise or work that increases your breathing and/or heart rate.

Luckily, while it will take crews a while to get those wildfires under control, a shift in winds should cause the smoke to dissipate and move out of the state on Thursday. These events always remind me that try as might to control things, Mother Nature is still the one calling the shots when it comes to the weather. Like she did during the following 11 weather disasters here in Minnesota-- keep scrolling to check 'em out!

Listen to Curt St. John mornings from 6 to 10 on Quick Country 96.5
and afternoons from 2 to 6 on 103.9 The Doc

11 of the Most Devastating Weather Disasters in Minnesota Throughout The Years

We might be full of lakes and "nice" but Minnesota has had its fair share of horrible and nasty weather. Throughout the years we've had floods, fires, storms that have crushed stadium roofs flat, and tornadoes that have destroyed lives.