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A haze is once again expected to descend upon the Brainerd lakes area and most of northern Minnesota this upcoming weekend. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Thursday afternoon issued an air quality alert due to wildfire smoke through noon Sunday, Aug. 19 The affected area includes Brainerd, Bemidji, Duluth, Ely and Moorhead and the tribal nations of Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake and Red Lake.
The snowpack in the Brainerd lakes area, which by all measures overstayed its welcome, is finally starting to fade away. It's a welcome sign for most that spring has finally arrived, but it does signal the arrival of another season—the time for grass fires and wildfires. The Brainerd Fire Department on Thursday responded to a small grass fire on the 7200 block of Woida Road in Baxter. Firefighters were paged at 4:17 p.m., and the property owner had most of the fire out when the department arrived, Fire Chief Tim Holmes said.
Oh, Mother Nature, say it isn't so. A fast-moving low pressure system will bring a chance of snow to the Northland—including the Brainerd lakes area—Sunday afternoon through Sunday night. Projections call for 1 to 3 inches of snow from the Brainerd east into northwest Wisconsin, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported. Bill Leatham, meteorologist with the NWS in Duluth, said the heaviest snow should start falling Sunday afternoon into Sunday night. Light snow could linger into Monday morning, he added.
Winter, it would appear, is taking a nasty little late season swipe at the Brainerd lakes area. All forms of precipitation are possible Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth—rain, snow and freezing rain are all likely before 8 a.m. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., snow is likely, possibly between 2-4 inches in total, followed by rain, snow and a freezing rain mix into the overnight hours and into Tuesday. Justin Schultz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said ice accumulations should be light.
Area residents may be thinking spring in the Brainerd lakes area, but Mother Nature is offering hints they shouldn't get too far ahead of themselves just yet. As last week's foot of fresh snow slowly faded away under sunny skies and above freezing temperatures, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported a chance for more accumulating snow early next week. Early forecast models show up to 5 inches of snow possible late Monday and early Tuesday. The key word for the forecast is "early," said weather service meteorologist Bryan Howell.
Thousands of Brainerd lakes area residents were without power early Wednesday after a line of powerful thunderstorms rolled across the region. The storm, which hit the area about 1:30 a.m., also downed numerous trees. The National Weather Service in Duluth received reports of multiple trees down in Nisswa, Aitkin, Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Crosslake, Fifty Lakes and Jenkins. Hail 1.75 inches in diameter was reported in Pine Center in southeastern Crow Wing County. Wind gusts of 58 mph were recorded at a weather station in Jenkins.
The victim of a two-vehicle, head-on collision Thursday on Highway 371 in Pequot Lakes has been identified as Dennis Lee Goff.