Temperature divide drops heavy snow or steady rain

Brainerd even posted a record for the warmth of its low temperature Sunday of 35 degrees. The average low for Dec. 29 is 3 degrees.

A Chevrolet pickup rests on it's top Monday, Dec. 30, south of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport on Highway 210. According to reports on the police scanner, three people were inside the truck at the time of the crash. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Colder temperatures meant the recent complex and multi-day storm seemed to either dropped a lot of heavy snow, or set records for rain.

Linda Engebretson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Duluth, attributed the increased snow totals in the Red River Valley to colder temperatures than the lakes area. While Brainerd stayed above freezing for most of Sunday, Dec. 29, regions farther north and west never rose above the 32-degree mark, making for better snow conditions. Brainerd even posted a record for the warmth of its low temperature Sunday of 35 degrees. The average low for Dec. 29 is 3 degrees.

The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport weather data listed a high of 38 degrees before 2 p.m. Sunday and noted temperatures remained in the mid- to upper-30s through 5 a.m. Monday before finally dropping below freezing before 6 a.m. and continuing to drop during the rest of the day.


With a few flakes still falling Monday afternoon and evening on top of already-formed ice and temperatures expected to continue to drop, Engebretson said conditions will likely be extremely slippery in the coming days. And those who haven’t removed their snow may have a hard time doing so as that snow and slush hardens. Temperatures were expected to dip to the low teens by sunrise Tuesday, she said, with the high estimated around 20 degrees.

The Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota saw the brunt of the storm remaining into Sunday with blizzard-like conditions persisting most of the day. About 8-12 inches of snow accumulated in the area from Baudette down west of Detroit Lakes, Engebretson reported.

Bemidji saw about 13.4 inches Sunday, while Cass Lake accumulated about 11. The small towns of Brooks and Oklee — about 25 miles southeast of Thief River Falls — recorded 16 inches the same day.

Across the border, Fargo had 12.3 inches and Grand Forks came in at nearly 13 inches of snow.

Cass, Crow Wing, Todd, Morrison and Aitkin counties remained in a winter weather advisory Monday night while the Arrowhead, Duluth area and far eastern Minnesota extending into Wisconsin were in a winter storm warning. As the night progressed, the Brainerd lakes area dropped to a hazardous weather outlook with light snow, blustery conditions and temperatures in the 20s.

The last day of the year should be mostly sunny with a brisk high of 19 degrees and wind gusts possibly as high as 20 mph. For revelers out celebrating the end of year and the end of the decade, the overnight low is expected to drop to 7 degrees and little to no wind.

Enjoy the sun of New Year’s Eve as clouds are forecast to return New Year’s Day along with a high expected near 25 degrees. Thursday may bring back mild temperatures just above freezing for a high, with temperatures dipping back to the mid-20s Friday and into the weekend. Look for a colder start to the first week of the new year.

The good news, however, is the lakes area should see a reprieve from snow for a few days, with light flurries expected over the weekend.


THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
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