The severe drought conditions currently listed for most of the Brainerd lakes area are a far cry from where the region was at in late spring and early summer.
While nowhere near as devastating as the floods that hit northeast Minnesota, rain in May, June and early July pushed flood waters on area lakes and rivers to record levels.
In Brainerd, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported 8.67 inches of rain in May, 6.99 inches in June and 5.28 inches in July. From 1981 through 2010, the weather service reported the average precipitation for May is 3.37 inches, for June 4.39 inches and for July 3.78 inches.
The rains caused the Mississippi River in Aitkin, Brainerd and Fort Ripley to reach major flood status. In Brainerd, the river peaked at more than 17.5 feet, eclipsing the previous high crest 16.7 feet set in 2001.
The Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area was closed briefly after a landslide and the county placed pumps at Black Bear Miller Lakes in Trommald to alleviate flooding to surrounding properties. Flooding also was a major problem on Big Sandy Lake in Aitkin County. Sheriff’s departments issued no wake zone for several water-swollen lakes.
Numerous roads were flooded in Aitkin, Cass and Crow Wing counties. In Brainerd, flood waters inundated low lying areas, including the community gardens and athletic fields at Brainerd High School.
Cass County also sustained wind damage in an early summer storm along with flood damage.
In all, 13 Minnesota counties, including Aitkin and Crow Wing counties, were listed in a federal disaster declaration.
MATT ERICKSON, night editor, may be reached at 855-5857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.