It was cold but was it a record?
It might say spring on the calendar, but winter is relinquishing its hold on the lakes area with great reluctance.
And Monday morning’s chill in the air went down in the record books — at least for the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.
At 7 a.m. the low temperature at the airport was 2 degrees.
The Weather Channel’s historical data for the Brainerd area listed the previous record low of 6 degrees on March 28, 1969. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration online weather data lists 7 below as the lowest temperature recorded in Brainerd on March 28, 1923.
Both are right.
“Yes it was a record for the airport, but for the Brainerd weather history probably not,” said Kevin Kraujalis, assistant forecaster with the National Weather Service in Duluth.
Kraujalis said temperature records at the airport go back as far as 1956. The low Monday morning was the lowest at the airport in that recorded time, beating the 1969 mark.
But, Kraujalis said cooperative data for Brainerd has weather information dating back to 1899, including the 7 below temperature recorded in 1923 in the city long before there was an airport recording the weather.
Monday’s low was well off the norm of 20 degrees.
“We’ve noticed since that snow that hit central Minnesota and north central Wisconsin, those areas have been consistently colder than areas to the north, but the late March sun is working on the snowfall,” Kraujalis said.
Monday night into early Tuesday morning was expected to be cold again, but not quite as chilly. The stronger sun is combining with cold, dry air with a high pressure system.
When the air is this dry, Kraujalis said the temperatures rise quickly in the day and drop quickly at night. By the end of the week, temperatures are expected to be more seasonal. But the long-term prospects, looking out six to 10 days and eight to 14 days, call for below-normal temperatures.
By the way, the record low for Tuesday in Brainerd was recorded on March 29, 1944, at 2 degrees. The weather service expects Tuesday’s high to reach 39 degrees.
On Monday, the temperatures climbed quickly to reach 31 degrees just before 11 a.m. and reached a high for the day of 35 degrees just before 5 p.m.
On the plus side, the colder temps have slowed the snow melt and provided relief for some flood-prone areas and allowed more time for flood preparations.
“In terms of that, it’s been great,” said Dean Packingham, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth.
Last Friday, a flood advisory was issued by the weather service for the Mississippi River near Fort Ripley.
Monday, the river was below 8.56 feet at Fort Ripley. Flood stage is 10 feet, but the river has to be at 16 feet to affect a private residence downstream and at 26 feet to affect Fort Ripley and the community, the weather service reported.
But precipitation is not out of the forecast. The weather service lists a chance of rain and snow for Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday.
The weekend is expected to provide a warm-up with highs pushing toward 50 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. The weather service anticipates a high of 45 degrees Friday and 46 degrees Saturday and Sunday, although Saturday appears to be the best day of the weekend. Sunday calls for clouds and a chance of rain and snow.
Packingham said the prediction model for the weekend indicates lingering drizzle and rain that doesn’t amount to much participation overall.
Models are a bit more divided in predicting what another weather system expected early next week may provide for significant rainfall. Packingham said most models indicate less rain but warmer night temperatures may be in store.
While the sun is making its presence known with cloudless blue skies of late, temperatures for the week can’t exactly be called balmy with April just days away.
The weather service estimates temperatures for the week will be in the low to upper 40s with lows mostly in the 20s.
“This cold weather could be somewhat of a blessing in disguise for those downstream,” Kraujalis said, noting the slow melt. “Everybody remembers how beautiful it was last spring — not this spring.”
He said hopefully by the end of April the region will have warm weather it can hang on to and until then golfers will have extra time to practice their swings.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.