NWS: Drier ‘spring dip’ conditions expected, may increase fire danger

Residents are advised to consult with authorities before any brush clearings and burnings.

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National Weather Service logo

The Brainerd lakes area could be in for a stretch of warming temperatures with little in the way of precipitation over the next week.

These conditions come during what’s called a ‘Spring dip’ — or a vulnerable period of time when temperatures rise, snow has receded and last year’s dead vegetation hasn’t been replaced by new greener foliage, which poses a higher fire danger — said Kevin Huyck, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth.

This week, he noted, temperatures could drift higher, with little to no precipitation, before rainier weather breaks over the lakes area starting the night of Sunday, May 16, and into the first half of next week. Still, while temperatures remain slightly lower than average for this time of year — for example, Sunday’s high temp was 59 degrees compared to the historic May 9 average of 66 degrees for the lakes area — the trend is upward, with higher than average temperatures expected at the end of the week where they could peak in the mid-60s.

This stretch of warming weather comes after a temperature valley, Huyck said, where the lakes area experienced colder than average temperatures and a stretch of snowfall in the back end of April that may have delayed the region’s springtime plant growth.

It is the anticipated lack of precipitation, however, Huyck said, that should give residents pause if they plan to clear branches or burn brush in their yards. During the coming week, a chance of passing sprinkles probably won’t crest the 10% mark. It’s going to be dry, he said, and there isn’t enough plant growth to offset the lack of rain.


“The storm track and the location of the jetstream seems more common to what we would see in like February or March. The temperatures, of course, are much different, but the upper level (atmospheric) features that we look at to drive most of the weather? They look more similar to February, early March than they should now,” Huyck said during a phone interview Sunday, May 9. “The main challenge we're dealing with right now is the dryness.”

“The little bit of snow that we've got has melted into the ground,” Huyck added. “It seems like most of that water has been used up and we haven’t had some precipitation to help the green-up process. As long as we stay dry that green-up process is going to be delayed. In terms of fire conditions, from a higher weather perspective this is a time of year that we have concerns. There’s a higher potential for fire right now.”

Huyck said residents are encouraged to keep tabs on advisories by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which utilizes a number of data sources and metrics to make a judgment on fire danger. If residents plan to undertake any kind of burning or brush clearing, they’re advised to consult the Minnesota DNR and follow any guidelines they have in place.

GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at or 218-855-5859. Follow at .
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