BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Much of Minnesota has been suffering with stagnant air for the past couple days, leading to the extension of an air quality alert through 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says this is the worst winter stagnation event since 2005, when it began keeping track.
The stagnant air and moisture from melting snow is trapping pollutants near the ground, creating unhealthy air for large portions of the Twin Cities and further south. Other areas were in the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" range.
Mound resident Rocco Zahasky was among the skiers and snowboarders taking advantage of the fresh powder at Hyland Hills Ski Area Tuesday.
"Everything kind of blends in. It's kind of like hard to tell where landings are," said Zahasky.
The poor air hindered views from the top of the slopes.
"All you see is a haze over the buildings in Bloomington," said St. Louis Park resident Don Baker.
"You can't really see very far, especially on top of the hills you can't really see out towards the city, which you normally can," said skier Max Anderson.
Those most likely to feel health impact from the air quality include the young, the old, pregnant women, people with heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, and those with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
"I kind of noticed more just walking up the stairs going into the ski chalet, than I did out on the slopes," said skier Jeff Rydland.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Meteorologist Matt Taraldsen broke down the symptoms people should lookout for.
"Shortness of breath, kind of light headed, tickle in their throat, burning of their eyes, that's your body telling you that it's working extra hard to get oxygen in and you should listen and kind take it slow," said Taraldsen.
A cold front Wednesday is expected to move the poor air out of the region.
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