The National Weather Service has issued an Air Quality Alert for a lot of Eastern and Central Minnesota today (9/14/17) from 12 PM - 8 PM. This is an "orange" alert. But what does that event mean? Let's break it down.

What causes an Air Quality Alert?

A combination of things. The wildfires out West are a big factor, along with the sunny skies and warm temps we have been having here in Minnesota.

What is an "orange" alert?

The AQI (Air Quality Index) is a way to measure the air quality and break it into groups. Orange is the level with a AQI number between 101 and 150 and this level is unhealthy to be in for sensitive groups, like people with asthma or other lung diseases. This level can also be harmful to the very young or elderly. Overall the general public won't be too affected.

What should I do?

What you shouldn't do is add more pollutants to the air than necesarry. Specialist recommend not running lawn mowers, excessively driving vehicles or lighting backyard fires in an orange alert.

When will it be over?

The alert goes into affect this afternoon at 12 PM and goes until sunset around 8 PM. By the time the sun is setting the alert will be downgraded to a "yellow" alert and ozone values will decrease.

See the official alert here