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Air quality alert continues a second day

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has continued its air quality alert from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday for the Twin Cities metro and portions of central and southeast Minnesota — including Albert Lea.

Air quality is expected to worsen again to unhealthy levels, according to the agency.

Winds will bring high levels of pollutants that contribute to ozone from the south. Sunny skies and hot temperatures will combine to cause an increase in ground level ozone. Air Quality Index values are expected to climb into the low 100s on Tuesday in the alert area. This is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, including people with asthma or breathing conditions; children and teenagers; people of any age doing extended or heavy physical activity; some healthy people who are more sensitive to ozone even though they have none of the risk factors.

Ozone concentrations will be the lowest in the morning hours, and will gradually rise midday through the afternoon. Air quality will improve in the late afternoon as thunderstorms move into the alert area from the west.

Conditions can aggravate lung diseases and may cause people in the sensitive groups to have difficulty breathing deeply, shortness of breath, throat soreness, wheezing, coughing or unusual fatigue.

The MPCA advised people to take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy, including limiting or postponing physical activity and staying away from sources of air pollution, to name a few.

Air quality is expected to improve early evening as thunderstorms develop in southern Minnesota and the sun lowers in the sky.