As the thermometer passed 54 degrees early Tuesday afternoon, another daily high temperature was set in what has been a record-setting warm winter in the Brainerd area.
March 13’s previous high record was set in 2007. On Tuesday, the high temperature peaked at 61 degrees — beginning what forecasters believe will be a string of record or near record warm weather days into next week.
“Oh, there’s no doubt it’s going to be a warm week — way above normal,” said Mike Stewart, meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Duluth.
Wednesday’s high temperature is expected to be 57-62 degrees. The record temperature for that day is 61 degrees, set in 1995. Thursday’s high temperature is expected to be 58-63 degrees. The record temperature for that day is 60 degrees, set in 2010.
Average temperatures for this time of year in Brainerd are about 37 degrees. While unseasonably warm temperatures aren’t expected to last, Stewart doesn’t believe true winter weather will be returning.
“Going into April and May it’s like flipping a coin, but we will probably have a cool spell. There’s still a lot of cool air trapped up north,” Stewart said. “But because it’s been warm and there’s no snow left, it probably won’t be too cold. We’re probably done at least with below zero days and it will only get warmer as we go along.”
The danger becomes an early start to the wildfire season, Stewart said. On Tuesday, the entire state was listed in the low fire danger rating but that could change with a string of warm, sunny days.
“It’s going to dry out quickly here,” he said. “Yeah we had added some moisture but big deal, it’s all going to be soaked into the ground because we had such a dry winter.”
A hope, Stewart said, is that a forecast of rain showers and thunderstorms on Monday will provide relief. On Tuesday, the forecast wasn’t too optimistic for much moisture help, however.
“This far ahead you can’t really tell but it doesn’t look to be an all-day soaker,” Stewart said.