Another warm-weather record was set Sunday as Brainerd reached a high of 76 degrees, surpassing the previous record that stood for 94 years.
Until Sunday, Brainerd’s record high temperature topped out at 72 degrees in 1918.
On the flip side, the record low for this date is 23 below zero, set in 1939. The normal high this time of year is 39 degrees.
How different could things be? On March 18, 1997, there was a record snow depth of 30 inches.
But this year the snow is long gone, at least for now. Even the overnight lows — in the 60s and 50s — are well above the average highs for this time of year.
The lakes area also posted a record high on St. Patrick’s Day — even as cloud cover most of the day kept temperatures from climbing too high. The new record was substantial, however, besting the previous high by 10 degrees.
While previous years had St. Patrick’s Day parade-watchers shivering on the curb in full winter gear, this year was comfortable for short-sleeves. Brainerd set a March 17 high at 71 degrees, besting the previous record of 61 degrees, set in 2003.
The forecast for the coming week includes a 50-percent chance for a shower or thunderstorm Monday and a slight chance of rain Tuesday. Temperatures may reach the 70s Monday, which would set another record high — as long as the thermometer climbs past 61 degrees.
More records could tumble during the week. The National Weather Service is predicting a sunny last full weekend of March but a “cooldown” is expected as temperatures are expected to be in the 50s, still well above the normal highs of the low- to mid-40s as March draws to a close.