It keeps piling up: Another round or two of snow expected in the Brainerd area

The Mississippi River remains open Wednesday, Dec. 11, at Brainerd despite the overnight sub-zero temperatures which descended upon central Minnesota. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

There is no getting around it -- snow has taken over the Brainerd lakes area and it seems every week we get a forecast calling for more.

That’s what the latest forecast is predicting, with several more inches of new snow possible by this coming weekend.

In November alone, the Brainerd area shoveled out from under 18.1 inches of snow, then December rolled around and dumped another 4.7 inches. As of Sunday, Dec. 8, Brainerd had 14 inches of compacted snow on the ground — the most snow to fall in Brainerd since 1948, when records started being kept.

“Brainerd has never had this much snow (on this December date),” said Jonathan Wolfe, lead meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth. Brainerd also tied the record for most snow on Tuesday, Dec. 10, with 13 inches of snow. The last time Brainerd had that much snow was in 1969.


Those totals will probably grow as more snow is on its way. By the time people wake up Thursday morning, Dec. 12, another 4 inches of fluffy white snow is expected to be on the ground.

The NWS issued a winter weather advisory for the Brainerd lakes area eastward to the I-35 corridor, including the Twin Ports area, and all of northwest Wisconsin, starting at 11 p.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Thursday. Slick driving conditions are expected for the Thursday morning commute. Snow is expected to spread from west to east.

Wolfe said it was expected to start snowing at 11 p.m. Wednesday in Brainerd and most of the snowfall may end by 7 a.m. Thursday. Residents may still see the snow tapering off Thursday during their morning commute.

Even though the NWS map showed Brainerd in a band to receive between 3-5 inches of snow, Wolfe said there is only a 4% chance Brainerd would see more than 4 inches.

A thin band of the higher accumulation of snow is expected between Brainerd to Bemidji to Hayward, Wisconsin. There is a possibility of only an inch of snow in some areas in the band, while at the same time there are areas will get as much as 6 inches of snow.

Wolf said because of the cold temperatures, the snow is expected to be light and fluffy, with just a bit of moisture. The low temperature Wednesday night into Thursday morning was expected to be 1 degree below zero, with a south wind of 5 mph. The forecast Thursday in Brainerd calls for a high near 13 degrees with a wind of 5-10 mph. New snow accumulation of less than one-half inch is possible Thursday afternoon.

And then Friday brings another possible snowstorm — but don’t fret. The NWS reports the storm system is small and Brainerd may only see between 1-2 inches of snow.

“There is not a lot of strength to this storm,” Wolfe said.


Friday’s forecast calls for 60% of precipitation, which falls to a 40% chance by Friday night. Friday’s high is near 19 degrees, with a low near 10. Saturday’s high is expected to be 10 degrees with a 20% chance of precipitation. Sunday’s forecast calls for high temperatures of 3 degrees and 6 degrees below zero at night.

Brainerd had 18.1 inches of snow for the month of November and 4.7 inches of snow in December before Wednesday night’s expected storm. In December of 2018, Brainerd had 17.7 inches. Wolfe said the December snowfall average is 9.7 inches.

If Brainerd gets the expected 6 inches of snow by the end of this week it will bring Brainerd’s total snow for the season to 28.8 inches of snow, with another possible three months of wintertime left.

Winter driving safe

  • Clear snow and ice from windows and lights.

  • Brake early. Leave twice the amount of room for stopping.

  • Don’t use cruise control in wintry conditions.

  • Don’t cut in front of other vehicles.

  • Take it slow! Delay travel if feasible.

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.
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