In a year of new weather records, just recently for heat, the tables turned abruptly this week with a Brainerd area record for cold.
It only took 96 years to do it.
If Wednesday morning, Sept. 9, felt extra crisp and a little too chilly for comfort, it was a record-setting chill. At 32 degrees Wednesday just before 4 a.m., the Brainerd area set a new record cold temperature for Sept. 9, by 1 degree, beating the record holder from 1924.
A cooler than normal Labor Day and Tuesday both tied longstanding weather records for the coldest daytime highs.
The high temperature Tuesday, at 52 degrees tied a 1946 record, and was nearly 20 degrees below normal for this time of year. And it came on the heels of a Labor Day which tied a record for a cold daytime high of 55 degrees, matching the record set in 1929.
Monday’s cold snap came after a Labor Day weekend with a 75 degree Saturday and a 78 degree Sunday with people mowing in short-sleeved T-shirts.
By Monday, the layers included sweatshirts and coats.
The weather change may not be as extreme as Colorado, where sweltering heat in the triple digits was followed by snow. In 48 hours, Colorado set records for both heat and snow, National Public Radio reported. In Fort Collins, the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University tweeted Tuesday it was the earliest accumulating snow ever observed in 130 years of record keeping. Denver went from 101 degrees Saturday to the earliest snowfall on record Tuesday.
Assistant Colorado State Climatologist Becky Bolinger said that this heat is becoming the new normal for Colorado with climate change. She said researchers are studying how that change might play a role in these dramatic temperature shifts, Colorado Public Radio reported.
Closer to home, the shift wasn’t as dramatic, but it was noticeable as summer temps Sunday were followed by the furnace kicking in Monday for some -- and for everyone a reminder of the cooler temperatures coming in the near future.
Autumn doesn’t officially begin until Sept. 22, although the last couple of days made it feel as though summer took the holiday seriously and exited last weekend.
Dean Melde, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Duluth, said after a frost advisory into Thursday morning, with a potential low of 39 degrees, temperatures will moderate. For those covering plants, the week ahead should bring relief with highs again in the 70s and overnight lows in the 40s and upper 50s. In northern Aitkin county, a freeze warning was in effect until 8 a.m. Thursday.
The high Thursday should be about 63 degrees, which is still nearly 10 degrees below the normal high for this time of year.
For the weekend forecast, Sunday appears to be the better day with sunny skies and a high near 65 degrees. Showers are expected Friday night and Saturday, with a possible thunderstorm as well. Chance of precipitation Saturday is listed at 70%. Saturday’s high may be about 65 degrees beneath cloudy skies.
Melde said the recently released outlook for Sept. 19 to Oct. 2 has a better chance for above normal temperatures. So, Melde said, there is light at the end of the tunnel. And this recent cold snap is a reminder there are limited days to do all those fall preparations, outdoor painting and yard work, window washing and home repairs, before the cold weather arrives in earnest and stays until spring.