By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans in the Twin Cities metro and beyond are getting a break Thursday from the poor air quality conditions brought on by Canadian wildfire smoke. However, the state’s drought conditions are continuing to worsen.

The air quality alert that covered much of the state this week expired at 6 a.m. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the alert because the wildfire smoke blowing down from Canada carries fine particles that are harmful to sensitive groups.

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As of Thursday morning, air quality conditions were moderate to good across much of Minnesota. The areas of good air quality were along the North Shore and in a section of southern Minnesota, near Rochester.

Doctors say that poor air quality can be harmful to the elderly and those with respiratory or heart conditions. Health experts also advise people to limit their outdoor exercise under such conditions.

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According to experts, current drought conditions could lead to more wildfires and additional air quality alerts later this summer. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows 72% of Minnesota is under severe drought, compared to 52% of the state at this time last week.

As for Thursday’s forecast, expect the day to be hot and humid. Meteorologist Riley O’Connor says temperatures in the Twin Cities will reach 90 degrees. While there’ll be cloudy skies and isolated showers early in the day, sunshine is expected to return in the afternoon.

The next chance of any significant rain looks to be late Friday. However, the heat will continue. Every day in the short-term forecast looks to have temperatures in the low 90s.

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