The parched Brainerd area was greeted with a round of heavy rain, hail and strong winds Monday night as a severe thunderstorm rolled over central and northern Minnesota.
The National Weather Service in Duluth reported that in Aitkin County baseball-sized hail fell near Big Sandy Lake north of McGregor. Hail also was reported in several other areas of Aitkin County, including a car windshield that was broken by 1.75-inch hail near McGregor.
In northern Crow Wing County, there were reports of downed trees but no damage to buildings.
The DNR reported .53 inches of rainfall at its Baxter office, 1.57 inches at its Backus office and 1.85 inches at its Outing office. Mark Mortensen, program forester at the DNR's Baxter office, said Monday's rainfall brought the August total in Baxter to 1.9 inches, still well below the 2.62 monthly 10-year average.
The rain did help green up vegetation. The fire danger Tuesday in Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties was low for the first time in several months. The fire danger in Aitkin County was moderate.
However, burning restrictions remain in place for Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.
Until conditions improve, burning permits will only be issued from DNR forestry offices and only if there's an economic hardship present. Permits for general burning, such as for leaves or other debris, will not be issued.
"The rain overnight was nice, but we had a statewide conference call today and we had enough areas without a lot of rain so we're keeping the restrictions," Mortensen said.
The forecast Wednesday through Friday is mostly sunny, with high temperatures in the upper-70s and mid-80s as the week progresses, according to the weather service. There's a 20 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms Saturday night, Sunday and Monday.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.