It was downright spring-like in Brainerd on Monday afternoon, with the thermometer topping out at a record-breaking 46 degrees.
The previous daily record for Dec. 16 was 44 degrees, set in 1999. The normal maximum temperature for this time of year in Brainerd is 21 degrees, according to records kept by the National Weather Service in Duluth.
The unseasonably high temperature across the state set some new daily records in Duluth, the Twin Cities and St. Cloud, too.
Duluth reached 43 degrees, breaking the record high of 42 degrees set in 1908 and 1877. The National Weather Service in Chanhassen reported that the 52 degrees measured at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport at about 2:45 p.m. Monday broke the previous record of 51 degrees set in 1936 and the 49 degrees measured in St. Cloud at about 3 p.m. bested the previous high of 48 degrees set in 1905.
The unseasonably warm day proved popular with many, including numerous people who took to area lakes for fishing and other recreation. At about 5:30 p.m., firefighters from the Crosslake and Ideal Township fire departments were called to Upper Whitefish Lake to rescue two people on an all-terrain vehicle that had broken through the ice. The people were able to stand on the ATV until firefighters arrived. Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl said the two people, a father and son, were not injured.
“They were very lucky,” Dahl said. “They were venturing out in an area where the ice isn’t good at all. And when it gets dark this early, you can never tell.”
Dahl said his office is still advising people to be careful when venturing onto the ice. He said that he’s heard ice thickness on most county lakes varying from 4 to 10 inches.
“It’s real spotty,” Dahl said. “Then we have the warm weather and that puts a strain on the ice. Hopefully we’re going to get some cold weather and make some good ice soon.”
Colder weather should be arriving Tuesday.
Rose Sangenberger, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said a cold front is expected to move through the area late Monday, and by Tuesday the high temperature should be about 20 degrees.
“That’s a little bit closer to norm, about what we’d typically expect” for this time of year, Sangenberger said.
The forecast for the final week of 2011:
• Tuesday — Partly cloudy in the morning then clearing. Lows 10 to 15. Highs 23 to 28. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph becoming north 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon..
• Wednesday — Partly sunny. Scattered flurries. Lows 17 to 22. Highs 28 to 33. South winds 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon.
• Thursday — Partly sunny with a 20 percent chance of snow during the day, 40 percent at night. Lows 20 to 25. Highs 30 to 35.
• Friday — Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Lows 18 to 23. Highs 30 to 35.
• Saturday — Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Lows 18 to 23. Highs 30 to 35.
• Sunday — Mostly cloudy. Highs 27 to 32.
(This story contains information from the Associated Press.)
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.