Summer officially began on Monday, but even the mosquitoes don't seem to realize that yet.
Lower temperatures have meant a slight decline in tourists visiting the Brainerd lakes area and, yes, even the mosquitoes aren't as voracious as they normally are this time of year.
The National Weather Service office in Duluth is warning that areas of northern Minnesota that have clear skies Wednesday morning could see frost. Thursday morning could be very cold, too.
"We are demanding that it gets warmer," said Kathy Schroeder, director of tourism for the Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce, with a laugh. "Lisa (Paxton, Brainerd chamber chief executive officer,) has a call in to her higher powers to get it to warm up."
Schroeder said the Brainerd chamber has noticed a slight decline in visitors at area resorts, hotels and motels, but people continue to flock to the area. They are opting to go shopping or visit area attractions rather than spend the day on the lake because of the cooler weather, she said.
"We're seeing more walk-in traffic in the information center and that indicates they're coming into town to see what else there is to do in the area," said Schroeder. "It's like during the winter, just because it doesn't snow, it doesn't mean there isn't something to do. Of course the fishermen aren't complaining one bit."
Mark Mortensen, program forester for the DNR in Brainerd, said the weather pattern isn't as warm as it was this time last year. On June 22, 2003, the high temperature in Brainerd was 81 degrees and the low was 61. On Tuesday, the high temperature in Brainerd was 70 and the low was 42.
"It's not a very warm weather pattern we're in but I don't think it's out of the ordinary," said Mortensen.
Mortensen said June has been an exceptionally dry month. The total precipitation in Brainerd was down about 1-3/4 inches at the end of May. Since June 1, the DNR in Brainerd has recorded only slightly more than 1 inch of rain. Normally by this time in June the area would have had about 3 inches of rain, he said.
The Brainerd chill
The Brainerd lakes area has experienced lower temperatures this week than those recorded during the past four years, according to the DNR in Brainerd.
The DNR in Brainerd recorded the following high and low temperatures in a three-day period, June 20-22, from 2001-2004:
-- 2001: 75/52, 70/46 and 74/56.
-- 2002: 75/60, 70/60 and 86/65.
-- 2003: 81/60, 83/63 and 81/64.
-- 2004: 73/57, 65/42 and 70/42.
Temperatures were expected to drop down between 36-41 degrees in the Brainerd area Wednesday and the possibility exists that some areas could experience patches of frost, said Mortensen.
It got down to 33 degrees Monday night in Hibbing.
How cold has it been? It has not yet hit 80 degrees in Duluth or International Falls this year. The lilacs are just blooming in Duluth, more than two weeks behind schedule.
In Duluth, 35 of the past 52 days of May and June have been below normal. In International Falls, 43 of the past 52 days have been colder than usual.
If temperatures are normal for the rest of June, International Falls will tie 1947 and 1969 for the coldest spring (May-June) on record, said Pete Boulay, state climatologist.
"The farther north you go, the colder it's been so far this summer. It's been exponential," Boulay said. "We've been just a little below normal here (in the Twin Cities). But it's been very cold up north."
The cold is blanketing the area while just a couple states to the south the lower Midwest is experiencing one of the hottest springs on record. Southern Iowa, Kansas and Missouri have been sweltering.
Boulay said the jet stream has kept warm air to the south. It moved slightly during the past week, bringing drier but even colder air than before.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center predicts all of Minnesota and Wisconsin will have below normal temperatures and near normal rainfall through July 4. And the 90-day forecast into September also calls for below normal temperatures.
"It's a great time to go out and have a picnic or go for a bike ride," offered Schroeder. "Of course it means we don't have mosquitoes right now. There is a bright spot."
(This story includes information from The Associated Press.)
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