Winter, or at least the weather one associates with it, just won’t go away.
The chance for snow returns late Friday to the Brainerd lakes area, with the National Weather Service in Duluth offering a 70 percent chance of light snow accumulations.
Dean Melde, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said Thursday afternoon that light accumulation could top out at 2 to 4 inches by Saturday morning.
“I like snow but this too late,” Melde said during the weather service’s state-wide severe weather awareness tornado drill. “We don’t need any of these snowfalls any more.”
Mid to late April accumulating snow isn’t common, but it’s also not unheard of. In April of 2008 three winter storms hit Brainerd — April 6-7 more than a foot of snow fell in the area, topped by 18 inches in Longville; April 11 Brainerd got 13 inches of snow, Little Falls and Pillager 14 inches of snow; and April 25-26 close to a foot of snow fell, topped by 11 inches in Pequot Lakes. On April 2-3 in 2007, 11 inches of snow fell in Brainerd.
Friday’s snow, expected after midnight, could be preceded by a mix of light rain and snow. And whatever does accumulate probably won’t be around long, Melde said, as Saturday afternoon’s and Sunday’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies.
High temperatures, however, will remain below average well into next week. The average high temperature at this time of year is 54 degrees. The National Weather Service in Duluth’s forecast for Brainerd calls for high temps of 40 to 45 degrees Friday, Saturday and Sunday; 41 to 47 degrees Monday; 43 to 48 degrees Tuesday; and 48 to 53 degrees on Wednesday.
Nonetheless, the signs of spring are here — grass is getting green, flowers are budding, burning restrictions are in place and the Mississippi River is at flood stage in Fort Ripley and Aitkin because of snow melt.
Melde said the snowfall Friday night and Saturday morning should only add as much as a 1/2-inch of water on area rivers, not enough to have a big impact on flooding conditions.
“It might make them slower to go down, but I wouldn’t expect much out of this,” Melde said. “We’re basically at our peak right now.”
Flood warnings remained in effect Thursday for the Mississippi River at Aitkin and Fort Ripley.
At 2 p.m. .Thursday, the Mississippi River in Aitkin was at 12.29 feet, about a third of an inch above flood stage, and the Mississippi River at Fort Ripley was at 10.13 feet, about a tenth of an inch above flood stage. In cities, only rural lowland areas have been affected.
Melde said river forecasts show slow river decreases over the next few days in both cities.
Another sign of spring — ice on area lakes is fading and could be out on several lakes as early as next week. According to records kept by the Minnesota Climatology Working Group the average ice out for area lakes is April 15 for Fishtrap Lake in Morrison County; April 16 for Lake Osakis in Todd County; April 20 for North Long Lake in Crow Wing County and Big Sandy Lake in Aitkin County; April 21 for Gull Lake in Cass and Crow Wing counties; April 23 for Ox Lake in Crow Wing County; April 24 for Mille Lacs Lake in Mille Lacs County and Lake Winnibigoshish in Cass and Itasca counties; and April 27 for Leech Lake in Cass County.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.