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I prefer my northern lights smoked. Not really, but do we have a choice? Cold fronts often bring high-level smoke down to ground level, and such is the case Monday with a statewide air quality alert through noon. Not this again.

Smoke from raging wildfires over northeastern British Columbia, Canada, is being pushed into Minnesota by upper level steering winds, and we may be dealing with smoky episodes for the next few months. Most of Minnesota is out of drought, but western Canada, far upwind, is dry and vulnerable to lightning-ignited wildfires.

Under a smoky sun, temperatures today will be 15 degrees lower than Sunday, topping 70 by late afternoon. A dry, comfortable Tuesday gives way to another spirited round of showers and storms Wednesday, with yet another swirl of moisture dropping more showery rain on Friday. The pattern is drying out slightly, but two free lawn-waterings are on tap this week.

No prolonged heat is in sight (yet), with fairly comfortable weather into next week. Sounds good to me.