Hotter than a match head? No, but if this summer has seemed like a hot one — though not exactly as hot as 7 inches from the midday sun — the numbers agree.

“It has been a warm one,” Steve Gohde, observation program leader at the National Weather Service in Duluth reported.

Gohde, and Josh Sandstrom, meteorologist, at the National Weather Service in Duluth were asked to quantify where the summer of 2020 ranked for warm days.

“I think you are onto something with the warm weather this summer,” Gohde responded. Digging into the data helped provide a look at how different this summer has been in terms of temperature.

From their research, the summer of 2020 is standing out for being consistently warm day and night. And it has already set records. Looking at June, July and August — at least through Thursday, Aug. 27 — Brainerd had at least 69 days of 80 degrees or warmer temperatures. The record was 65. And there is one day with missing data in the middle of a 10-day stretch of 80 degrees or more, lending to the belief the number of days reaching 80 degree or more, to date, is actually 70. And that puts another record in sight.

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For Brainerd, looking at the entire year, 2020 has been notable for 70 days where the temperature was 80 degrees or warmer. The record of 72 days reaching those temperatures was set in 1988.

Briana Scalo's daughter, Annabelle, smiles while riding on mom's back while swimming Monday, Aug. 24, in the shallow water in Whipple Lake in Baxter. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Briana Scalo's daughter, Annabelle, smiles while riding on mom's back while swimming Monday, Aug. 24, in the shallow water in Whipple Lake in Baxter. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

“In terms of percent days of this summer, June, July through Aug. 9, we’ve had 77% days at 80 degrees or warmer. The record percentage for the summer is 71 back in 1988,” Gohde and Sandstrom noted in their list of weather facts gleaned about 2020.

With added days since the report was completed, Brainerd had 14 more days in August with temperatures ranging from 80-87 degrees. That should put the summer of 2020 at the top No. 1 ranking for percentage of days at 80 or above, based on known history.

Record daily highs were also set:

  • June 1, 92 degrees,

  • June 8, 96 degrees, and

  • June 16, 95 degrees.

  • The average temperature in Brainerd, June 1-Aug. 9, was 71.6 degrees, setting a record for that time period.

With warm days, there were a number of nights when the temperatures stayed warm. A woman at Walgreens this week said she was looking forward to cooler and better sleeping conditions with the forecast.

This summer, a record high minimum temperature of 77 degrees was set July 25, 2020, breaking the old record of 72 degrees set in 2007.

The data shows the summer of 2020 provided many warm nights with temperatures in the mid-60s in late June to early July as moist humid air kept nighttime dew points elevated.

So far in August, there were just five days below 80 degrees. Friday came close to adding to the count, after the rain clouds gave way to the sun, the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport posted 78 degrees before 5 p.m.

Looking at the percentage of days with temperatures reaching 90 degrees or warmer, 2020 was in the top 10, according to recorded data.

2020 had 12 days at 90 degrees or warmer, an increase from recent history. It takes going back to 2007 to have more at 13 days. Those 90 degree days are not a summer staple and the lakes area can seem to face a feast or famine experience for those who like it hot.

Briana Scalo and her daughter, Annabelle, splash in the cool water of Whipple Lake in Baxter Monday, Aug. 24. With the recent hot weather, the popular swimming beach has been busy. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Briana Scalo and her daughter, Annabelle, splash in the cool water of Whipple Lake in Baxter Monday, Aug. 24. With the recent hot weather, the popular swimming beach has been busy. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Days of 90 degrees or warmer

  • 2000, 3,

  • 2001, 11,

  • 2002, 5,

  • 2003, 7,

  • 2004, 2,

  • 2005, 13,

  • 2006, 13,

  • 2007, 13,

  • 2008, 1,

  • 2009, 1,

  • 2010, 2,

  • 2011, 8,

  • 2012, 10,

  • 2013, 9,

  • 2014, 0,

  • 2015, 1,

  • 2016, 2,

  • 2017, 1,

  • 2018, 3,

  • 2019, 8

  • 2020, 12 — as of Aug. 27.



Graphic by the National Weather Service Duluth.
Graphic by the National Weather Service Duluth.

And for the record, a match head can reach a temperature above 1,000 degrees, according to multiple sources. The temperature 7 inches from the midday sun was not immediately available.

Hot years

Percentage of days with a maximum temperature of 90 degrees or warmer.

  1. 1988, 33.

  2. 1936, 26.

  3. 1931, 21.

  4. 1930, 20.

  5. 1970, 19*.

  6. 1955, 1947, 1929, 1901 at 18*.

10. 2020, 1921, 17*.

*denotes missing data.

Mean average temperature June 1-Aug. 9.

  1. 1988*, 71.7 degrees.

  2. 2020, 1988, 71.6 degrees.

4. 2006, 2005, 71.2 degrees.

6. 1933, 71.1 degrees.

7. 2007, 71 degrees.

8. 2012, 70.7 degrees.

9. 1970, 70.4 degrees.

10. 1931, 70 degrees.

Number of days with a minimum temperature of 65 degrees or warmer from June 1 to Aug. 31.

  1. 1935, 26 days.

  2. 1941, 25 days.

  3. 2020, 23 days (as of Aug. 27).

  4. 1955, 1937, 22 days.

6. 2013, 2007, 20 days.

8. 2011, 2006, 2005, 19 days.



Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchBizBuzz.