From one extreme to another isn’t new for Minnesota and this week before Easter is no exception.
It will also be bookended by near critical fire weather.
Monday, March 29, set a new daily high temperature record in the Brainerd area at 76 degrees with a strong southerly wind. Temperatures were still in the 70s before 7 p.m. and winds gusted as high as 32 mph with a steady breeze at 21 mph. The setting sun was overtaken by a thick cloud bank as the wind shifted to the west before 7 p.m. and the skies quickly moved from fair to mostly cloudy. The low humidity, at 23% Monday night, combined with the record-setting warmth and strong winds combined for a National Weather Service-issued red flag warning of fire danger.
The record set Monday bested the previous record holder of 72 degrees set in 2005.
That scenario of sunny and breezy, along with increasingly warm temperatures into the 70s, is about to be repeated.
The National Weather Service is again noting near critical fire weather conditions are possible across northeast Minnesota Friday, April 2.
“Southerly winds will increase to sustained at 14 to 18 mph with gusts around 25 mph. When combined with dry conditions, near critical fire weather conditions are possible,” the weather service reported. Red flag warnings for fire danger still encompass northwestern Minnesota counties, North Dakota, much of South Dakota and parts of Montana.
Between Monday’s record warmth and Friday’s predicted high of 58 degrees were sandwiched weather that felt more like a return to winter. Temperatures just reached 32 degrees before dropping lower Wednesday. Temperatures dropped down to the teens at night, even as low as 11 degrees in Mother Nature’s early April Fools’ Day before 7 a.m. Thursday. By late Thursday afternoon, highs were climbing closer to the mid-40s.
But the outlook is much warmer. The normal high for this time of year is 47 degrees.
By Saturday, when children are expected to gather in Brainerd for a coronavirus-modified version of the annual Easter egg hunt, temperatures should be on a path to a high of 68 degrees beneath sunny skies. Easter Sunday is expected to be a repeat with mostly sunny skies and a high near 70 degrees.
By Monday, there is a slight chance of a thunderstorm.
Past April Fools’ Day weather
Previous weather moments stand out in the record books for April 1 in the Brainerd area.
The record low is 12 below in 1975. During the day on April 1, 1975, the temperature rose as high as 24 for a chilly start to the month. The cold in 1975 didn’t relent easily as it continued to set low temperature records below zero for the next two days.
Six inches of snow fell in 1974. And in 1969, the snow depth was measured at 18 inches.
Not long ago, the record high was set with 73 degrees in 2015.
This Easter Sunday will have to overachieve to beat the April 4 record high of 81 degrees set in 1929.