By WCCO-TV

This article was originally published on Feb. 19, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Due to higher levels of pollution caused by the stagnant air, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert effective through Sunday at noon.

The impacted areas include the Twin Cities metro, St. Cloud, Rochester, Albert Lea, Winona, and the tribal nation of Prairie Island.

MPCA says light winds and poor atmospheric mixing will produce a higher level of fine particles starting Friday night and into Saturday morning. The expected southerly winds during the day on Saturday will transport more of the particles into Minnesota through Sunday.

Conditions will improve on Sunday morning as weather disturbances bring cleaner air in from the west.

The Air Quality Index is forecasted to reach orange, or a level unhealthy for sensitive groups. Those impacted could include people with asthma, breathing difficulties, heart disease, high blood pressure, children, older adults, or people who do extended physical activity outdoors.