It may be too soon to say for sure-weather is always unpredictable-but it looks like Brainerd may see a good amount of snowfall later this week.
"It's still a little early to predict how much snow we will get," Dean Melde, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said Monday, April 8, of a winter storm system expected to land Thursday in the Brainerd area and much of central and northern Minnesota. "But as of right now, Brainerd has a potential to see 6 inches or more. South of Crow Wing County, such as St. Cloud and Little Falls, could see as much as a foot.
"If the storm system changes just a little bit it can push more of the heavier snow into Brainerd. People will have to watch the forecast throughout the week."
Before the snow comes, Brainerd is expected to get rain. The NWS reported a 20 percent chance of showers after 1 p.m. Wednesday, and another chance of rain before 8 p.m., with the rain expected to change to snow about 9 p.m. The chance of precipitation is 50 percent. The low temperature is projected to be around 27 degrees and it is expected to be blustery.
On Thursday the snow is expected to be heavy at times, with a high near 33 degrees and breezy conditions. There is a chance of snow showers before 1 a.m. Thursday and before 1 p.m. Friday.
Melde said one of the weather models for snow amounts predicted up to 8 inches of snow for Brainerd. However, this is just one of many models forecasters consider.
No matter how much snow falls it probably won't last long, as the forecast calls for a high near 44 Saturday and a high of 46 Sunday.
A heavy snowfall isn't unprecedented at this time of year. Last April, Brainerd had 6.5 inches of snow April 15-16.
The 2018-19 winter season has brought 63.5 inches of snow, compared to a normal season average of 44.7 inches of snow in Brainerd.
The average high temperature for April 8 is 51 degrees, with the record of 79 set in 1988. The average low temperature for April 8 is 28 degrees. As of 4 p.m. Monday, it was 60 degrees, with a 12 mph northeast wind in Brainerd.
The weather service reported minor river flooding will continue along the Mississippi River at Aitkin and Fort Ripley throughout the week. Melde said flooding at both locations is at or below the flooding forecast. Even with the snow coming, "it typically takes a few days to melt" so the weather service does not expect major impacts on the flooding stage, Melde said.
As of 10 a.m. Monday, the Mississippi River at Fort Ripley was at 9.8 feet and flood stage is 10 feet. The water could rise to 10.8 feet by early Saturday and at 11 feet, would cause minor flooding.
The Mississippi River near Aitkin was at 12.5 feet at 9:30 a.m. Monday and flood stage is 13 feet. The river is expected to rise to 14 feet in the Cedarbrook neighborhood near Eagle Road, the weather service reported. The Aitkin City Park may also flood.