Records were shattered Friday as temperatures soared to mid-summer highs four days before spring officially begins.
Brainerd reached a high of 75 degrees, eclipsing the previous record of 62 reached in 2003.
Farther south, in the Twin Cities, temperatures hovered in the 80-degree range.
The normal high for March 16 is 38 degrees. This time last year the high temperature was 48 degrees.
While Friday’s high, amid a string of warm sunny days, was remarkable, it’s not the warmest day in Brainerd for March.
The city was bathed in 80-degree temperatures on March 28, 1946, hit 78 degrees on March 27, 2007, and reached a high of 75 degrees on March 8, 1987.
But Friday’s high does tie the 1987 high, meaning it now ranks third among the warmest March days in history going back to 1899.
AccuWeather.com reported more than 1,200 record high temperatures were set during the past week across the nation, and nearly 6,000 record highs have been recorded since the beginning of 2012.
The National Climatic Data Center reported the a total of 1,226 records set from March 8-14 with 423 on March 14 alone.
With summer-like weather comes a summer hazard — thunderstorms capable of producing hail. The National Weather Service (NWS) reported isolated thunderstorms are possible from Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning. There is another chance for thunderstorms Monday through Wednesday. The NWS reported there is a 50 percent chance for a thunderstorm Monday. The current dry current conditions make moisture a welcome addition. Cloudy conditions and cooler temperatures are expected early in the coming week with highs in the mid- to upper-50s. But the sun is expected to return for the remainder of the week, although temperatures aren’t expected to reach Friday’s record warmth.