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Saturday storm brings hail, heavy rainfall in lakes area

Thunderstorms were predicted to cause some severe weather Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in the Brainerd lakes area. But the National Weather Service in Duluth has not received reports of hail or tornadoes touching down in the region.

Lightning strike lights up clouds
A lightning strike lights up clouds Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, as severe weather moved through the Brainerd lakes area.
Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — Hail measuring as large as an inch in diameter near Lake Shore and heavy rainfall accompanied a thunderstorm Saturday night, Sept. 17, as it moved across the Brainerd lakes area.

Weather spotters offered several hail reports in the region, with much of it concentrated in the Nisswa/Pequot Lakes areas to the north. Localized rainfall totals ranging from 1.85 inches about 3 miles north of Pequot to 2.96 inches just north of Nisswa were recorded as well, according to reports collected by the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS.

“We had some showers and thunderstorms that developed to the west of the area over toward Fergus Falls up through the Bemidji area, and those moved eastward into the evening into the Brainerd lakes area,” said Kevin Huyck, a National Weather Service meteorologist, during a phone interview Sunday.

Large hail, damaging winds and a small chance for tornadoes are possible with any severe storms that develop, the National Weather Service warned Friday afternoon.

“Some of those storms appeared to be capable of producing some large hail, and there was a potential for some wind damage as well, so those were things that we were paying particular attention to as the storms developed,” Huyck said Sunday.

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The National Weather Service in Duluth issued six severe thunderstorm warnings, mainly focusing on the threat of hail and wind, leading up to Saturday’s thunderstorms in the area.

“There was enough twist in the atmosphere where we were also concerned about tornadoes,” Huyck said. “And several of those storms, especially in the Pequot Lakes area and Brainerd up into the southern part of Cass County, did display evidence of rotation on radar.”

Huyck said the National Weather Service in Duluth received a couple of reports and photographs of funnel clouds but no reports of actual tornado touchdowns.

Beyond in the inch-diameter hail reported at 8:20 p.m. in Lake Shore, other spotters reported 0.75-inch hail in Pequot Lakes and 0.25-inch hail in Breezy Point, Jenkins, Crosslake and near Swanburg as a result of the storm.

“We didn't get any calls related to weather, no damage that we're aware of,” Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Sgt. Aaron Cronquist said Sunday. “I mean there are a few trees down, but that's normal so no reports of damage or flooding from our end.”

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Heavy rain from the past few days has resulted in elevated river levels, ponding of water in low-lying areas and minor washouts, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.

“The fact that there were fewer storms meant that the flash flooding risk ended up being lower than what we expected, and so we haven't heard any reports of any flooding,” Huyck said.

Huyck said he has seen reports of rainfall accumulation ranging from 0.75 inches up to 2 inches in some spots from Saturday’s thunderstorms.

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“The more intense parts of the thunderstorms were relatively narrow, and so if a person was right underneath one of those storms, they might see that higher rainfall,” Huyck said. “But then on the fringes, the storms were not as intense and rainfall wasn't as intense.”

The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport recorded 0.97 inches of total rainfall accumulation so far for the month of September, which was a little bit below the monthly normal of 1.5 inches.

“The severe thunderstorm warnings that we had that we issued last night (Saturday) that would have included the Pequot Lakes area mentioned a risk of 1-inch up to inch-and-a-half or ping pong ball-size hail,” Huyck said.

Area overnight rain totals

  • 2.96 inches of rainfall, 1.9 miles north of Nisswa.
  • 2.25 inches, 1.8 miles south of Breezy Point.
  • 2.16 inches, 2.6 miles east-southeast of Pequot Lakes.
  • 1.96 inches, 0.9 miles west-northwest of Breezy Point.
  • 1.86 inches, 1.2 miles northeast of Breezy Point.
  • 1.35 inches, 6.1 miles northwest of Trommald.
  • 1.03 inches, 8.4 miles northwest of Aitkin.
  • 0.63 inches, 1.8 miles east-northeast of Lake Shore.
  • 0.54 inches, 4.2 miles east-northeast of Nisswa.
  • 0.5 inches, 2.8 miles south-southeast of Ironton.

Source: Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .

I cover arts and entertainment, and write feature stories, for the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper. As a professional journalist with years of experience, I have won awards for my fact-based reporting. And my articles have also appeared in other publications, including USA Today. 📰
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