Winter storm lives up to its billing, breaks records in Brainerd
Finally, a winter storm that really delivered.
“It will go down as the second most prolific snowstorm in April in Brainerd,” said Kevin Kraujalis, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth.
The snowiest day in Brainerd in April arrived on April 11, 2008, with a 15-inch snowfall. Thursday’s snowfall measured 11 inches in Brainerd.
And the records don’t end there.
Another record was tied for the remaining snow depth this late in the season. With the latest snow adding to the existing snow pack, Brainerd has 18 inches of snow on the ground, matching a previous extreme set during the early part of April in 1969.
“This is the latest date with so much snow depth on the ground in Brainerd,” Kraujalis said.
The roads, now slushy and even icy in spots, didn’t build up with as much snow as the pavement temperature was elevated enough to melt the early snowfall.
From Thursday morning to Friday morning, the Minnesota State Patrol in the Brainerd district reported seven injury crashes, 11 property damage crashes, one driving while intoxicated arrest and more than 25 vehicles off the road. On Highway 23 east of Ogilvie, the state patrol was investigating a head-on crash involving two semitrailers.
Gusty winds also moved snow around. The long-lasting storm deposited wet, heavy snow that clung to trees like a holiday postcard. There were a few reports of sparking power lines late Thursday night but no reports of wide power outages. There were reports of snapped tree branches.
For the highest snowfall during any winter going back to 1908, this last storm ranks in the top 10.
The average snowfall for the season is 46 inches. On average April usually has 3.2 inches of snow. This winter season, the snowfall — to date — is 73 inches. Snowfall amounts were 2.6 inches in November, 8.5 inches in December, 1.8 inches in January, 16.9 inches in February, 21.9 inches in March and 21.3 inches in April.
While the moisture helps with the ongoing severe drought in the state, the additional snowfall does increase concerns for flooding — especially if the warm-up is dramatic, though it’s hard to see that from the forecast. As of Friday afternoon, Duluth and the Arrowhead were still in a winter storm warning. Gusty winds caused blowing and drifting.
On the positive side, there is not much yard work to do this weekend, at least once the shoveling is done. Snowmobilers are getting a late season rush and ice anglers still have plenty of hard water.
Here’s the bad news. The forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of snow Saturday, 30 percent of rain and snow Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. A slight chance of snow persists through the end of the coming week.
By Wednesday, high temperatures may rise to the upper 40s, nearly reaching 50 degrees.
“Usually when April is done the snow is done,” Kraujalis said.
That might not be something to bet the farm on this winter.