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Snow ends, makes way for frigid temps

Wind chills are expected to drop temperatures below zero, though no more snow is projected for the week.

A man snowblowing his driveway.
Wyatt Zuhlsdorf snowblows his driveway Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, at his residence on Grand Oaks Drive in Baxter.
Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Out with the snow, in with the cold.

With two days of snow finally coming to an end Tuesday evening, Feb. 22, the lakes area — and much of the state — will be buried in both snow and frigid temperatures for the time being.

While no more snow is projected for the rest of the week, temperatures are not expected to rise above 10 degrees until the weekend. Lows are projected to be below zero until then, with the wind chill factor plunging the numbers even lower. The National Weather Service in Duluth forecasts wind chill temperatures of 20-30 below zero for Wednesday in Brainerd.

While much colder than average for this time of year, when the high temperature is usually around 30 degrees, meteorolist Josh Sandstrom with the National Weather Service in Duluth said the low temperatures of 2022 still aren’t going to be breaking any records. Brainerd’s lowest high temperature for Feb. 23 is 2 degrees, reported in 1934, while the lowest low temperature on record is 26 degrees below zero. Without the wind chill, Wednesday’s temperatures are projected at a high of 8 and a low of 15 below zero.

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Snow totals

The city of Brainerd had recorded 9.5 inches of snow as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Little Falls saw the most snow in the lakes area, with 13 inches recorded as of Tuesday morning.

The snow led to closures and e-learning days Tuesday for area schools, from preschoolers all the way up to college students at Central Lakes College.

Other totals as of Tuesday morning, include:

  • North of Pillager — 12.8 inches.
  • Fort Ripley — 11.3 inches.
  • St. Mathias Township — 11 inches.
  • Mission Township — 8.5 inches.
  • Deerwood — 7.4 inches.
  • Malmo in Aitkin County — 6.3 inches.
  • Nisswa — 4 inches.

Duluth and northwestern Wisconsin were hit the hardest, with the lake effect off Lake Superior dropping 17 inches in some parts of Duluth and 27.5 in Washburn, Wisconsin as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, with the snow still falling.

History repeats itself

This kind of snowstorm isn’t the first of its kind to hit Minnesota and Wisconsin in late February. In fact, exactly 100 years ago, Midwesterners saw nearly identical weather. The three-day span of February 21-23, 1922, is imprinted in the National Weather Service’s archives. Fifteen inches of snow fell in Duluth during that time, with 50 mph wind gusts creating blizzard conditions. Brainerdites were digging themselves out of about 11 inches, similar to today’s residents, while Wisconsinites were dealing with ice. Up to 4 inches accumulated around trees, poles and wires in some parts of Minnesota’s eastern neighbor, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’s not quite a mirror image, but it’s very similar,” Sandstrom said. “And it was a long duration storm, too. At least here in Duluth that 15 inches came over three days, and today’s storm is a two-day storm.”

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The week ahead

Wednesday, Feb. 23: Mostly sunny with a high near 8. Wind chill values between 20-30 degrees below zero. Northwest wind around 5 mph.

Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with a low around 15 degrees below zero. Calm wind.

Thursday: Mostly sunny with a high near 9. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph.

Thursday night: Partly cloudy with a low around 19 degrees below zero. Calm wind.

Friday: Sunny with a high near 10. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 5-10 mph in the morning, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Friday night: Mostly clear with a low around 3 degrees below zero. Southwest wind around 10-15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high near 25. Breezy with a west wind 10-15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

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Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a low around 2 degrees below zero. Northwest wind around 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high near 12. Blustery, with a northwest wind 10-15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Sunday night: Mostly clear with a low around 10 degrees below zero. Northwest wind 10-15 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph.

Monday: Sunny with a high near 18. West wind 5-10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon, with gusts as high as 15 mph.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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