Those who enjoy ice fishing should rejoice. Everyone else may want to go into hibernation.
After above-normal temperatures for the first half of January, temperatures for the foreseeable future are forecast to fall below - way below - the 19-degree average for this time of year in Brainerd.
A low temperature of minus-5 Monday morning was just a start. After a brief reprieve Tuesday, with high temperatures of 20-25 forecast, it is expected to be much colder through the upcoming weekend.
The National Weather Service in Duluth is forecasting highs of 9-14 degrees and lows of 5-10 degrees below zero Wednesday, highs of 4-9 degrees and lows of 7-12 degrees below zero Thursday, highs of 1 below-4 above and lows 14-19 below zero on Friday and highs of 1 below-4 above and lows 12-17 below zero on Saturday and Sunday. Wind chills throughout the week are expected to be as low as 20 below zero.
Ron Long took a break Monday after cross-country skiing at the Northland Arboretum. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
The long-range forecast looks worse, or better, depending on one's point of view. While a detailed forecast isn't yet available for the week of Jan. 20-26, Tom Lonka, assistant forecaster with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said that week could be dominated by high temps in single digits and possibly days where the thermometer fails to reach zero.
"We're looking at dry, cold polar air coming in. That's usually associated with a lot of sunshine but cold weather," Lonka said. "And it's going to be quite cold."
That's good news for organizers and participants of the 18th annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza, scheduled Jan. 26 on Hole in the Day Bay north of Brainerd. Last week, the ice was measured at the contest site and an average of about 12 inches was found. The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department requires a minimum average of 16 inches for the event.
"We're ecstatic," about the forecast for the next two weeks, said Mary Devine, marketing director of the Extravaganza. "We were feeling pretty good about the ice conditions even last week and now we're very confident everything will be fine."
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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