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October snow? Weather service says yes

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Mammoth Lake Superior waves crash ashore in Canal Park in Duluth Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, and appear more like a watercolor painting as a still photo is taken from a moving image. Andrew Krueger | MPR News2 / 2

Brainerd residents may see about an inch of snow when they wake up Thursday, Oct. 11.

Though this expected snow will fall well before Halloween, people might as well get out their masks—ski masks that is. The first snowfall indicates winter is soon coming to the lakes area—so those who love snow should be happy. Last year, Brainerd saw snow for the first time on Oct. 26, with 2 inches falling, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported. On average the first measurable snowfall is Nov. 11.

Areas to Brainerd's north and east are in for a different treat. The NWS reported a potential of up to 8 inches anticipated to fall in the northwestern part of the state in Koochiching County. The northeastern part of the state is seeing a whirlwind of weather. A lakeshore flood warning went into effect Wednesday in the areas of the North and South shores of western Lake Superior near Duluth. There are reports of flooding and gale to storm-force northeast winds over the lake generating large waves and piling water onto the lakeshore. The strong winds from Lake Superior are translating inland and a wind advisory is in effect for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin with wind gusts up to 50 mph.

Closer to home, the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport recorded wind gusts of 37 mph before 8 a.m. Wednesday. The last three days the Brainerd lakes area has experienced a steady diet of overcast skies, fog, heavy and light rain or mist. If it seems like a long time since the sun made an extended appearance, the data bears that out to be true.

Cloudy days adding up

Mother Nature has had a mind of its own this season and hasn't given Brainerd residents much sun. According to the NWS, Brainerd had 28 days of clouds since Sept. 11—so not many sunny skies.

The upcoming few days will be no different—with the exception of Friday, which is forecast as mostly sunny with a high of 42 degrees and wind gusts of 15 mph. Wind gusts Thursday are expected to be much higher at 25 mph.

There is a chance of rain again Saturday and a chance of rain, mixing with snow after 5 p.m. Sunday.

The NWS reports temperature lows from now through Monday night are expected to be below freezing, dipping from 31 degrees to 26 degrees in the Brainerd area.

In other areas:

Minnesota Public Radio reported winds gusting over 60 mph and waves reaching nearly 20 feet high on Lake Superior Wednesday at Duluth, causing flooding and closing roads.

"Despite the damage, lots of people braved the weather to see the lake's fury first-hand," MPR reported, noting people had to lean into the wind to stay standing and "frigid waves ambushed the unwary" and people drove 60 miles to see the waves. The National Weather Service reported a wind gust off the North Shore measured 86 mph.

Andrew Krueger, MPR News, took a spill himself getting video of the intense pummeling, as water pushed him off his feet and into the Canal Park parking lot. Krueger documented the moment on Twitter. He also caught surfers on Lake Superior at Stony Point between Duluth and Two Harbors. More than 5,000 people were without power.

The waves and the spill, Krueger tweeted, was a : "... good reminder of the power of Lake Superior - and to always have an escape route to safety (even if it's an unplanned water slide into a Canal Park parking lot)." Later, he noted, "Thanks @LakeSuperior - it's been fun. Yes, you tried to sweep me away today but it's all good. See you next storm."

"The fall storm that has brought significant weather to the Northland will finally start to wind down (Wednesday night)," the National Weather Service reported. "Heavy rainfall has caused some minor river flooding in Ashland County, Wis. There has been lakeshore flooding in the Canal Park areas due to strong northeasterly winds and waves up to 20 feet high.

"Snow has been falling northwest of the Iron Range today. (Wednesday night), expect winds and waves to gradually subside near Lake Superior. Snow will continue to fall and accumulate northwest of the Iron Range overnight, and will expand eastward. Snowfall accumulations of 3 to 8 inches are expected northwest of the Iron Range, with accumulations less than 1 inch expected elsewhere."

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