Rain helps Brainerd’s drought conditions, but it's still dry

Hot and very humid conditions are in the forecast for the holiday weekend in the Brainerd lakes area.

BrainerdDroughtGraph 2
Brainerd is currently in a moderate drought. Image by National Weather Service in Duluth

Even after Monday’s healthy downpour, the Brainerd lakes area still is in need of more rain.

About 1.51 inches of rain fell Monday, June 29, bringing the total amount of precipitation for the month of June to 2.64 inches, excluding any rain falling late Tuesday night. However, the area continues to be in a moderate drought, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.

Little Falls received 8.76 inches of rain in Monday’s storm. On the radar, the storm followed a narrow, but intense band as it cut across Morrison County. Jeff Jelinski, Morrison County commissioner, said he traveled by Pike Creek on County Road 238 and the creek was running over the roadbed.


“I have never, in all my life, ever have I seen water like that. I just have never seen it,” Jelinski said of Pike Creek.

A lot of rain fell in a short amount of time during a thunderstorm that had staying power. Jelinski said the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office received calls of roads washed out throughout the night and a few leaks were found in the county government center, but there weren’t significant reports of storm damage. The storm’s intensity reverberated with sound in Morrison County. Jelinski described it as pounding, loud cracks of thunder, which seemed to go on for a long time, longer and with more intensity than Jelinski said he could recall from previous storms.

“It was kind of amazing to tell the truth,” Jelinski said.

Meteorologist Patrick Ayd said the rainfall Monday helped ease up the drought a bit, but the area still is below the normal amount of precipitation for the year. Brainerd received about 50%-70% of normal precipitation in the past 90 days, Ayd said.

The normal amount of precipitation for June is 4.24 inches — or 1.6 inches more than the area received in rain so far this month. For the year, the Brainerd area received 7.4 inches of precipitation compared to the normal amount of 10.17 inches.

Last June, the Brainerd area had 3.75 inches of rain. The most rain Brainerd received in the month of June was 7.54 inches in 2012 and the least amount was .96 inches in 2015. Earlier this year, the Brainerd area received 2.11 inches of precipitation in April and 0.80 inches of rain in May.

Rain totals Monday were:

  • Baxter, 2.73 inches.

  • Brainerd Airport, 1.48 inches.

  • West of Brainerd, 1.18 inches.

  • East of Brainerd, 1.08 inches.

  • East of Aitkin, .85 of an inch.

  • West of Aitkin, 1.6 inches.

  • Crosby, .86th of an inch.

  • East Gull Lake, 1.54 inches.

  • Ironton, 1.2 inches.

  • Isle, 1.64 inches.

  • Garrison, 1.14 inches.

  • Little Falls, 8.76 inches.

  • Pillager, .88 of an inch.

  • East of Pequot Lakes, .75 of an inch.

“The rain certainly helped ... but it didn’t end the drought,” Ayd said. “Brainerd still has a deficit, but it temporarily prevented the drought from getting any worse. We are now heading into a warm spell coming for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.”
Temperature highs Thursday through the weekend are expected to be in the 90s and the Fourth of July Saturday is expected to see a high of 91 degrees, with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m.


“It’s gonna be humid, very humid,” Ayd said. “It will be warm and humid for the rest of this week and into the holiday. It’s already humid out there. Brainerd is sitting in the upper 80s to lower 90s over the weekend.

“If you are doing anything outside take it easy. Try not to do anything outside during the peak hours (when the sun is the hottest).Take care of yourself, your pets, your neighbors. Check on people who don’t have air conditioning all while following the protocols of distancing ourselves.”

If people are outdoors, they should stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids, even if they don’t feel thirsty.

Ayd also reminds people to keep their vehicle keys out of reach of small children. Children may have the tendency to go into the vehicle to play on hot days, which may lead to heatstroke. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, vehicles heat up quickly and the heat may be fatal to young children. Children are at a higher risk than adults of dying from heatstroke in a vehicle because their bodies heat up 3-to-5 times faster than adults, the safety association stated on its website. From 1998-2015, 661 children died due to heatstroke. It only takes 10 minutes for a car to increase 20 degrees in temperature. Heatstroke has occurred in temperatures as low as 57 degrees.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association stated a child should never be unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked for even a minute. Adults should always check the backseat when exiting the vehicle to make sure they don’t forget a child is in the backseat.

The rules that apply to leaving children unattended in a hot vehicle are the same for pets. All dogs are susceptible to heatstroke. Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion because they are left in parked vehicles, as stated by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

More thunderstorms coming?

A bulk of the thunderstorms circulating Tuesday in North Dakota will most likely fizzle out before reaching the Brainerd lakes area, Ayd said. Brainerd has a better chance Wednesday into Wednesday night for storms to redevelop. The showers and thunderstorms are anticipated to be scattered and widespread through Thursday.

“There won’t be any washouts from the rain, as there will be a lot of space between them,” Ayd said of the storms. “It will be scattered and you could pick up a half-inch quickly, but your neighbor down the road may get nothing.”


Updated just before 4 p.m. Tuesday, the NWS reported a hazardous weather outlook for the counties of Cass, Crow Wing and Aitkin. The weather service reported scattered thunderstorms, with some storms potentially to be strong to severe Wednesday through Monday across northeast Minnesota.

The weather service also reported hazardous weather for central Minnesota, including the counties of Todd, Morrison and Mille Lacs. A small chance of thunderstorms is expected Saturday night through Monday, but the threat for severe weather is low for these counties.

Weather details for Brainerd area

  • Wednesday there is a chance of showers and thunderstorms before 4 p.m., then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 5 p.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 84 degrees. The forecast calls for a southeast wind 5 to 10 mph, becoming south in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. The low at night may be 64 degrees.

  • Thursday should be sunny and hot, with a high near 90 expected. The wind may be calm, becoming southeast around 5 mph. The low at night may be around 66.

  • Friday forecast calls for more sunny and hot conditions, with a high near 91; with a low around 67 at night.

  • The Fourth of July should continue the trend and be mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 90. There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms; with a low around 67.

  • Sunday should be partly sunny, with a high near 88. The forecast calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms; with a low around 66.

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