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Air quality alert issued

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

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

Sunny skies, hot temperatures and light winds will combine to cause an increase in ground level ozone. In addition, pollutants will collect along the warm front south of the Twin Cities and contribute to increased ozone.

Ozone concentrations will be lowest in the morning hours and will rise midday through afternoon.

Air Quality Index values are expected to be in the low 100s, which could be unhealthy for people with asthma or breathing conditions; children and teenagers; people of any age doing extended or heavy physical activity; and some healthy people who are more sensitive to ozone even though they have none of the risk factors.

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.