If the predictions are right, this winter might have a frosty bite.
And the lakes area got the first taste of the white stuff Sunday as snow clung to cars, leafy trees, rooftops and accumulated on the green grass and still-blooming flowers.
Snow depth reports ranged from 1 to 3.5 inches across central Minnesota, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported.
After nearly reaching 50 degrees Friday, Brainerd’s Sunday high hit 37 degrees by 6 p.m. Snow began falling lightly before 7 a.m. Sunday and continued much of the day finally turning to light rain, fog and mist before sunset. The average snowfall for October in Brainerd is .3 inches. The average high temp for this month is 56.5 degrees.
The snow arrived with the Brainerd area still in the 75-100 percent peak for fall colors. With leaves still on trees in numerous cases, residents still haven’t needed to get the yard rake out let alone the shovels. Brainerd residents were mowing grass Saturday. But this has been an interesting year for weather with a late spring and now what appears to be an early November.
The 10-day forecast, to the eve of Halloween, calls for below normal temperatures. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center expects colder than normal temperatures from the Dakotas to the East Coast and warmer than average temps in Alaska and the western third of the nation from Canada to Mexico.
The week ahead into the coming weekend is expected to be downright chilly for this time of year. Highs may reach 40 and overnight lows are expected mostly in the 20s, meaning those who still have yard work to do may want to devote time to bringing in the garden hose. The National Weather Service now lists Wednesday as the only day of the week with possible snow showers and even then it’s a small chance at 20 percent.
In the lakes area, the extended forecast indicates trick-or-treaters will be bundling up this year with a high of 36 degrees.
AccuWeather noted the weather swing basically took the region from September to November in one week.
AccuWeather is predicting the lakes area will be part of the country experiencing cold shots this winter.
“Those living in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest should plan for plenty of days requiring snow boots and shovels, as several strong systems are expected to unleash above-normal snow totals,” AccuWeather reports. “Frequent arctic blasts will take aim at the Dakotas and Minnesota late in the season, leading to some extreme cold at times.”
Minneapolis is in a swath including Denver and Chicago for above normal snowfall, but the Brainerd lakes area is listed as normal if extra chilly.
Residents will have to wait and see if the predictions for the big chill come true because if anything can change it’s a weather forecast.
But here are some highlights from the recent past:
• In 2011, Duluth had the least snowiest start to a snow season in 49 years.
• In 2012, January produced the most days with 45 degrees or warmer in recorded history, breaking a record of set in 1877.
• In 2002 on Oct. 20, there was heavy snow across central Minnesota with Little Falls getting 9 inches.