October rainfall was one for the record books in Brainerd.
The National Weather Service in Duluth reported the 7.27 inches of precipitation recorded at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport was the most since records have been kept starting in 1948, almost tripling the 30-year average of 2.51 inches for October.
October also brought a record-setting 24 days of measurable precipitation, the weather service said, which is not only a record for October but breaks the old record for any month, which was 20 set in June 2008.
Average October rainfall for Brainerd in the past 30 years has been 2.5 inches, said Dean Melde, meteorologist with the weather service.
Umbrellas were a mainstay in October, as shown by the fans who bundled up and took shelter at an Oct. 29 cross country meet in Little Falls. A record 7.27 inches of rain fell over 24 days in October in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
The 7.27 inches of precipitation also represented the most in Brainerd in any month this year. The closet was 6.07 inches of rain in July.
"That much rainfall is a fairly rare occurrence," Melde said.
Amanda Graning, also a meteorologist with the weather service, said since 1948 Brainerd has had six occurrences of more than 5 inches of rain in October, the last being 7 inches in 1984.
Graning said October is normally a transitional month between seasons and such a large amount of precipitation is rare. For this October, the weather pattern featured several fast-moving systems that brought small amounts of rain, between a quarter-inch to a half-inch, each day. The one exception was Oct. 2, where 2.05 inches of rain fell.
2009 precipitation in Brainerd
January - 0.42 inch.
February - 1.15 inches.
March - 3.54 inches.
April - 1.71 inches.
May - 1.34 inches.
June - 3.19 inches.
July - 6.07 inches.
August - 3.09 inches.
September - 0.81 inch.
October - 7.27 inches.
Source: National Weather Service
It was such a slow build that weather service staff hadn't paid too much attention to the rainfall until the end of the month when Brainerd's daily numbers were added up, she said.
"A whole extra five days more than we had (in Duluth). That's a lot of rain we're talking about in any 30-day month," Graning said.
Though it inconvenienced residents hoping to finish fall yard work, the rain will have a lasting benefit in eliminating drought deficits. As of Oct. 27, the U.S. Drought Monitor listed most of Crow Wing County out of drought conditions, though a small portion, including Baxter and Brainerd, were considered abnormally dry.
"The rain certainly came in an area where it was needed and in pretty much the scenario you want to get out of drought - slow and persistent with no flooding problems or anything like that," she said. "It's about as good as it can get drought-wise."
Pete Boulay, assistant state climatologist with the DNR, said drought conditions from Brainerd to the south are expected to go away when the new drought report is issued later this week. Drought conditions from northern Cass County to the north are expected to persist, he said.
October rain will carry over to the spring because plants are no longer using the water, Boulay said, which will help offset dry spring conditions. That's what has happened three of the past four years, he said.
"That 7.27 inches, that's one of the highest amounts in the state this year. It's plenty of rain," Boulay said. "You see that amount in a very wet June, much less in an October. For replenishing soil moisture it's what we needed."
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.