September ends on soggy note, sets a new record

Overnight thunderstorm drops more than 2 inches of rain, toppling 54-year-old rain record for Sept. 30. Expect more fall-like temperatures ahead and potential for patchy frost later this week..


An overnight thunderstorm dropped more than 2 inches of rain in the Brainerd lakes area, breaking a 54-year-old record.

The 2.18 inches of rain falling in the early morning hours of Monday, Sept. 30, overtook the longstanding rainfall record of 2.15 inches set in 1965 just after the Beatles song “Help!” topped the charts.

Monday the heaviest rainfall was recorded before 3 a.m.

The weather observations at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport first noted a thunderstorm in the vicinity with rain, fog and mist just before midnight Sunday, Sept. 29. The rain arrived after an evening of overcast skies, mist and strong winds, with southeast gusts as high as 24 mph recorded about 9 p.m.

As the storm system moved in, temperatures rose from the mid-50s to 63 degrees before 6 a.m. and continued to rise to 74 degrees by 4 p.m. on the last day of September. The cloud cover kept Brainerd from reaching the highs experienced farther south with Minneapolis reaching a summery 85 degrees by late afternoon.


Rain lingered in the lakes area after 7 a.m. with another .19 inches of rain recorded after 6:53 a.m., according to the observations at the airport. September ended on a soggy note with overcast skies, haze and rain dominating the forecast since Saturday night. That it has been a rain-rich season can’t be lost on those who normally are able to reduce weekly mowing sessions down to heavily shaded areas as the sun-drenched yards crisp and dry to summer browns by August. For gardeners, it may have been awhile since it was necessary to drag out a hose to water vegetable plants or flowers.

While there were days when the rain barely measured a hundredth of an inch, other rains were much more substantial with an inch falling on Sept. 12 and multiple days of nearly a half-inch or more.

With the arrival of October and moving into fall, Josh Sandstrom, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, noted more days with temperatures in the 80s in the lakes area are not impossible, but are unlikely. Monday continued to harbor the opportunity for thunderstorms into the evening hours, but temperatures are expected to take a cooler turn.

Sandstrom said the chance for rain continues through midweek with a general trend of cooling to the 50s during the day and into the 30s at night. A cold front swinging through Monday was going to usher in that crisp fall air, Sandstrom said.

Patchy frost is predicted Thursday night into Friday and may reappear Sunday, but that is too far out to say with any certainty. After a forecast for clouds and rain through the week ahead, Friday should bring back the sun, and thus the option for the temperature plunge, and Sunday is expected to be partly sunny with a high near 54 degrees.

The eight- to 14-day outlook indicates temperatures and precipitation may both be a little bit above average. Looking at models even further out, the next three to four weeks could be about average for this time of year. The three-month outlook is calling for above-average temperatures. While studies and models can provide an indicator, weather is never a sure thing, especially in terms of such an extended forecast.


September has been a month of extremes. The hottest day of the month reached 87 degrees Sept. 17, in a stretch of the warmest days of the month with temperatures rising above 80 degrees for seven consecutive days from Sept. 15 to Sept. 21. The lowest daytime high was 57 degrees on Sept. 29, as a precursor of the march to colder weather in the weeks and months ahead.

While frost advisories came at the end of the month for counties to the north, the lakes area temperature dipped to 35 degrees for its lowest temperature of the month on Sept. 28.


Precipitation in inches by month

Month - 2019 - Normal

May -- 3.66, 2.35.

June -- 3.75, 4.30.

July -- 4.64, 4.59.

August -- 3.78, 2.77.

September -- 6.21, 2.95.

By the numbers

Weather highlights for Sept. 30

  • 63 degrees -- Normal high.

  • 83 degrees -- Record high set in 1932.

  • 44 degrees -- Record lowest high temperature recorded in 1899.

  • 2.15 inches of total precipitation recorded in 1965.

  • No snowfall has been recorded on this date.

Weather highlights for Oct. 1


  • 62 degrees -- Normal high.

  • 86 degrees -- Record high set in 1976.

  • 40 degrees -- Lowest high temperature set in 1985.

  • 2.90 inches of precipitation in 1995.

  • Trace of snow in 1935.

Source: National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration.

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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Attention teachers: Don't forget to submit your students' weather drawing to the Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN, 56401.
Attention teachers: Don't forget to submit your students' weather drawing to the Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN, 56401.
Attention teachers: Don't forget to submit your students' weather drawing to the Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN, 56401.
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