It isn’t only the imagination -- the weather has been much wetter than normal lately.
This past weekend’s rain helped push the Brainerd lakes area more than an inch ahead of normal rainfall totals for the month of October so far. A total of 1.68 inches fell between the first of the month and Sunday morning, Oct. 6, according to the National Weather Service. Standing water can be seen in yards and ditches, the ground squishing underfoot due to highly saturated soil.
October’s rainfall adds to a soggy September, which the weather service reported was the third wettest September recorded in Brainerd since record keeping began. It was also the seventh warmest September. The average daytime high temperature this year was 71.3 degrees, compared to the typical 69.1 degrees, and the average low last month -- 53.1 degrees -- bested the typical low temperature by almost 6 degrees.
Steve Gohde, observing program leader for the NWS office in Duluth, said the recent rainfall is pushing up creek and river levels beyond their typical flow for this time of year, but also is likely setting up the area for a less-dry spring.
“Before we go into freeze-up, it is normally a pretty good sign for a decent spring as far as satisfying soil moisture and things like that,” Gohde said. “It helps out, leaning away from drought or that kind of thing in spring.”
Of course, Minnesota is several months away from spring, with a whole other season on the docket in the meantime. And that season may rear its head by next weekend, should current storm predictions hold. Gohde said a widespread freeze and a significant storm system may be on the way.
“We may have a significant weather system coming in, might have a lot of rain to start and might also have some snow with it,” he said. “It’s far out yet, and it looks like it could be a pretty decent storm. It’s definitely worth monitoring.”
All this means one thing -- this upcoming week presents the opportunity to soak up warmer temperatures while it’s still possible. Daytime highs are expected to top 60 degrees through Wednesday, with Tuesday and Wednesday both predicted to reach 65 degrees. Thursday may be a bit chillier, with a high of 55 degrees expected, and Friday even more so, with the forecast calling for a high of 45 degrees.
Prepare for the possibility of serious sweater weather going into Saturday and Sunday. Gohde said temperatures may struggle to reach 40 degrees. The northern areas of Cass and Aitkin counties have already experienced frosts, and it’s looking increasingly likely Brainerd will join that club within the week.
“It could go from fall to winter pretty quickly,” Gohde said.
The extended forecast indicates below-normal temperatures are likely to stay through 10 days, with normalcy more likely headed into the middle of the month, according to the weather service’s Climate Prediction Center.