Welcome warm-up arrives
After a long wait, the highly anticipated warm-up finally arrived Monday.
So bask in the spring air this week, because the National Weather Service forecast indicates temperatures more typical of a frigid January will be back by the weekend.
Monday it was almost too warm to shovel driveways free of the snowplow’s deposit. Well, almost. Monday’s high hit 30 degrees in Brainerd. The latest snowfall had widespread reports of 4-7 inches of snow.
■ 2.6 inches McGregor.
■ 3.5 inches Remer.
■ 3.7 inches Brainerd.
■ 3.8 inches Nisswa.
■ 5 inches Emily.
■ 5 inches Duluth.
■ 5 inches Breezy Point.
■ 6 inches Lutsen.
■ 7 inches Two Harbors.
The welcome warm-up is just getting started. Temperatures should flirt with 40 degrees Tuesday and Wednesday. Even the overnight low on Wednesday is predicted to be a balmy 27 degrees. Temperatures will start to drop just slightly by Thursday with an anticipated high of 31 degrees.
By Friday, winter will have restored order with a high predicted to top out at 17 degrees and the overnight low back below zero. By Sunday and Monday, winter’s dominance will be fully established with highs falling short of reaching the teens and overnight lows dropping to nearly 10 below zero.
The normal high this time of year is 27 degrees and climbing quickly to 31 by the end of the month. The normal low temperature is 2 degrees above.
While this winter may seem more typical for traditionalists, it’s been record-setting for its prolonged cold and been anything but normal considering recent years.
On Feb. 16, Duluth set a new record with this winter ranking No. 1 for the number of days below zero. Duluth posted subzero temperatures for 60 days this winter season. Previously, the winters of 1874-1875, 1916-1917 and 1958-1959 were tied at 59 days. And this winter is likely to extend its lead with more subzero temperatures in the forecast. The 90-day winter season, for this record, runs from Dec. 1 through Feb. 28.
The National Weather Service looked up the numbers for Brainerd. So far this winter season, there have been 63 days with temperatures at zero or below, putting this winter in fourth place. In first place is a cold winter 36 years ago. The winter of 1977-1978 had 69 days at zero or below. Brainerd needs seven more cold days to set a new winter record and take top spot on the podium.
In December, 20 of 31 days were subzero. In January, there were 26 days. So far this month, February has dropped below zero nearly every day. Until this warm-up, February had 16 days below zero. More are in the forecast.
There were eight days in January where the temperature never climbed above zero. The coldest day was Jan. 7 with a high of 16 below zero and an overnight low of 26 below.
The weather service reported Brainerd’s 23 straight days with temperatures below zero, ending Feb. 12, made fourth place on the list of longest cold stretches tying a record set in 1929. Third place: 25 days in 1982. Second place: 27 days in 1936. And in first place a stretch of 35 days set in 1948.