Oh joy, the snap is back.
A short blast of cold air will make its presence in the Brainerd lakes area this week, into Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19-20. The deep chill, originating from the Arctic Circle, is flowing down through Canada into the States and is expected to bring very cold and hazardous wind chills of 25-40 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth. But the wind chills won't be as bitter in Brainerd as they will be for our northwesterly neighbors in Grand Forks, where folks should expect to see the colder wind chill readings.
Still, Brainerd residents who plan to venture outdoors this weekend may want to make sure they have all their winter gear on-from head to toe-as the temperatures will be lower than the number of fingers they have on one hand.
"We're in the beginning of a cooling trend. We will see a drop into the teens for Wednesday and Thursday (Jan. 16-17), and then a drop again into the single digits Friday, and then struggling to stay above zero Saturday and Sunday, before climbing back up out of below-zero temperatures Monday and Tuesday," Steve Gohde, NWS observation program leader in Duluth, said of Brainerd's forecast. "It looks like we will bottom out Saturday night into Sunday morning with below-zero temperatures and wind chills as low as 25 below."
The cold snap will be relatively short, but people may want to stock up on some supplies and stay inside as they watch the mercury drop.
Residents will see a break in the bitter cold Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 21-22, but then it appears the colder weather may make a comeback later that week. Gohde said when predicting weather too far ahead, past seven days, there is a lot of uncertainty in the weather models, so even though they may report colder temperatures, it is too early to state with accuracy.
However, the NWS Climate Prediction Center predicts weather out 14 days and shows Brainerd may possibly see below-normal temperatures next weekend. So, people planning to attend the annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza, scheduled Jan. 26 on Gull Lake's Hole-in-the-Day Bay north of Brainerd, will want to keep tabs on the weather next week.
Last year's fishing contest took place on a windy, wintry day. The temperature rose into the low 20s, but the gusty wind kept anglers bundled up from head to toe.
The normal temperatures for Brainerd this week are 21 degrees for a high and 0 for a low, Gohde said. The record high on Jan. 15 is 52 degrees, set in 1987, and the record low is 37 below zero, set in 1994.
On Feb. 2, 1996, Brainerd hit 54 below zero. Last year on Jan. 14, Brainerd was 20 degrees below zero.
"When you get to the end of January, beginning part of February, it is typically the coldest time of the year for us," Gohde said. "The days are getting longer but the temperature lags behind in getting warmer."
Brainerd is on its second cold snap of the winter season: Five of the six days from Dec. 28, 2018 through Jan. 2, 2019, saw below-zero temperatures with wind chills.
Forecast for Brainerd this week
• Wednesday, Jan. 16: Mostly sunny, with a high near 12 and a north wind of about 5 mph. The low at night is expected to be 1 below zero, with an east wind at about 5 mph.
• Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 14 and a northwest wind of 5 mph. The low at night is expected to be about 7 below, with a north wind of 5 mph.
• Friday: Partly sunny and cold, with a high near 6. At night, the low is projected around 14 below.
• Saturday: High is expected to be 1, with a low of about 21 below at night.
• Sunday: Sunny and cold with a high near 1. Sunday night's low expected to be around 9 below.
• Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Temperatures are expected to be warmer with a high near 14.