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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The air quality in southern Minnesota is considerably worse than predicted today.

As of 1 PM, the air quality index readings across the southern third of the state had risen into the 150s and 160s, which are well into the range that is considered unhealthy for everyone. The reading for Rochester was 156.

The Air Quality Alert issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Friday predicted that fine particulate pollution levels would reach the range that is unhealthy for sensitive groups. That covers index readings between 100 and 150.

view of downtown Rochester during smoke on Sept 1 2017- Kim David/Townsquare Media
Kim David/Townsquare Media

The high readings are due to smoke from wildfires burning in western Canada that was pulled into Minnesota by a cold front. The fine particulate pollution levels peaked in the north half of the state last night and those areas have been experiencing improved air quality this afternoon.

The statewide Air Quality Alert ran through 3 PM today, but it has since been extended through noon on Sunday for the southern half of Minnesota.

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