Canadian wildfire smoke on course to reach Minnesota by Thursday

Smoke from a wildfire rises in the air as cars line up on a road in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. At least half of a northern Alberta city was ordered evacuated Tuesday as a wildfire whipped by winds engulfed homes and sent ash raining down on residents.

Smoke from a massive wildfire in Alberta is at Minnesota’s doorstep, meaning the dimmer switch on the sun will be dialed down a touch come Thursday.

The wildfire has been burning since Sunday, some 1,400 miles to the northwest of the Twin Cities in and around Fort McMurray, forcing tens of thousands of Canadians to flee their charred neighborhoods.

Drifting smoke already hovers over much of North Dakota.

Next in line is Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.

“You can see it drifting in to northern Minnesota later tonight,” based on the Weather Service’s computer models, said meteorologist Michelle Margraf.

By Thursday, much of Minnesota will be under a smoky blanket, but the tangible impact should be limited.

“A dimming of the sun slightly,” Margraf said, “that’s primarily what we’re looking at.”

“It won’t linger for days and days,” Margraf added, and it should dissipate by Friday.

Because the smoke is expected to stick to the higher elevations of the atmosphere, officials said, people likely won’t notice any health or odor issues.

Steve Mikkelson, spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said, “There are no indications yet” that the air folks in Minnesota breathe will be affected, “but that could change from day to day.”

Source: Canadian wildfire smoke on course to reach Minnesota by Thursday – StarTribune.com

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