Minnesota's mid-September warm spell is not doing our lungs any favors.
Friday's alert is from noon until 8 p.m. and it covers the whole southern tier of the state plus some of central Minnesota. It includes the Twin Cities, Worthington, Mankato, Rochester, and St. Cloud.
What the alert means
When you see orange on the air quality map (which you can check anytime here) that means the air could be unhealthy for sensitive groups.
Those are any people who sometimes have trouble breathing – because of asthma, bronchitis, COPD, or any other condition. They should take it easy in the afternoon and try to stay inside, the experts say.
Staying away from busy roads or open fires will help. And if you use an inhaler, be extra sure to carry it with you.
What's causing the bad air quality?
The Pollution Control Agency says the weather is part of it. Warm humid conditions keep the ozone near the ground where we're trying to breathe instead of floating up into the sky like it usually does.
Also high ozone levels have moved into Minnesota from southern states, the PCA says.
According to the National Weather Service, Minnesota's Thursday and Friday temperatures are about 15 degrees warmer than usual for mid-September. It got up to 91 in the Twin Cities Thursday. But cooler weather is moving in from the west for the weekend, with the forecast showing highs in the upper 60s by Sunday.