Storm drops more than a foot of snow in region

The forecast of sunshine and above freezing temperatures should also put a little dent in the snow depth and help clear roads and sidewalks. But the snow is not done yet.

A man walks his dog on a trail surrounded by woods as snow falls
With snow falling, Gary Jensen walks his dog, Olivia Wednesday, March 1, 2023, on the Paul Bunyan State Trail north of Brainerd.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — March came in like a lion — at least for some — as residents in the region were digging out from about a foot of snow after a quick-moving storm.

Snowfall reports, one 2 miles north of Onamia, recorded 14 inches of snow by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 1. The National Weather Service in Duluth upgraded the system from a winter weather advisory to a winter storm warning for a host of area counties early Wednesday morning. The warning area included Wadena, Cass, Cross Wing and northern Aitkin counties.

Just before 4 a.m., the National Weather Service in Duluth reported many areas could expect 3 to 6 inches, with some isolated 8 inch amounts not out of the question, especially from the Brainerd lakes towards Bayfield County in Wisconsin.

In a morning update before 7 a.m. Wednesday, the weather service noted widespread snow with locally heavier amounts expected from the Brainerd lakes area, Walker and Duluth into Wisconsin.

Snow fell heavily at times, with rates up to a half-inch to an inch an hour, making for a hazy Wednesday morning before snowfall lightened into the afternoon in the Brainerd lakes area.


Heavy snow and wind gusts up to 31 mph resulted in slick roadways and visibility being reduced to a half mile or less. The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported all area highways had snow on the roadway early Wednesday.

Fresh snowfall in Brainerd
A Minnesota Department of Transportation plow truck plows snow in the westbound lane of Highway 210 Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in Baxter.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The National Weather Service reported snow amounts were “likely to vary quite a bit over short distances” with this clipper system. Snowfall reports covered the range from 3 inches in Brainerd to 8.5 inches in Pine River by mid-afternoon Wednesday. Pine River-Backus schools were closed Wednesday because of weather, and are closed Thursday so students can go to the state wrestling meet, in which the Pequot lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew team is participating.

For those beginning to yearn for spring, temperatures are expected to increase to the mid-30s this week, potentially climbing to 37 degrees Saturday — in time for the Polar Plunge on Pelican Lake at Breezy Point Resort benefiting Special Olympics.

The forecast of sunshine and above freezing temperatures should also put a little dent in the snow depth and help clear roads and sidewalks. But the snow is not done yet. The weather service reports there are additional chances for snow late Sunday into next Tuesday.

Additional snow chances will occur late Sunday into next Tuesday morning.

But this late in the season, even if the snow continues for the moment it won’t last too much longer with normal high temperatures into March above freezing. The normal high temperature by March 15 is 39 degrees and by March 29 the normal high rises to 46 degrees.

For the month of March, the weather service is actively recruiting for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network.

Those who would like to volunteer to become a regular reporter of rain, hail and snow, should visit for more information.


Area snowfall totals

14 inches — 2 miles north of Onamia

10.5 inches — Outing

9 inches — Menahga

8.5 inches — Pine River

7.5 inches — Federal Dam

6.5 inches — Hackensack

5 inches — Cass Lake

4.1 inches — Long Prairie


3.7 inches — Fort Ripley

3.6 inches — Pillager

3.4 inches — Camp Ripley

3.1 inches — Onamia

3 inches — Brainerd

2.8 inches — Motley

2 inches — Garrison

Snowfall total reports varied in time, some came in during the late morning as snow continued to fall so totals may have increased.


Source: National Weather Service

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

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