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Saturday heat sets new record high

Young anglers take to the water Saturday, May 26, during the fishing contest portion of the Kids Fishing Clinic at Lum Park in Brainerd. Saturday set a new record high temperature at 92 degrees, about 20 degrees above normal. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video -- for more photos go to https://bit.ly/2GVMeb1

If Saturday, May 26, seemed exceptional for the blast of summer heat, it was indeed a record-setting day.

The National Weather Service in Duluth noted a record high of 92 degrees was set in Brainerd Saturday breaking a 41-year-old weather record standing since it reached 88 degrees on May 26, 1977. That high was tied on May 26, 2014.

As many who regularly attend Memorial Day events can attest, this last week of May often seems cool or pleasant with a normal high of 71 degrees and light coats often part of the day's apparel. Last year, the day was decidedly cool with a high of 58 degrees.

But high temperatures can be part of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The record high for May 28 was set 12 years ago when the thermometer rose to 95 degrees, more reminiscent of a Fourth of July high than Memorial Day—although the record book is scattered with hot days in May, including the May 24 record of 91 degrees was set in 2010.

Looking back a decade, it's not uncommon to have a one-day heat spike, with five of the last 10 years boasting a single day at 90 degrees or above. A stretch of warm days with highs at or near 90 is much less common - just once in the last decade that is similar to the recent stretch of days: 2014.

In Brainerd, temperatures began climbing earlier this month from 65 degrees on May 21 to following days of 76 degrees, 82 degrees, 89 degrees, 90 degrees and 92 degrees, with a high Sunday of 85 degrees. The forecast calls for highs of 87 degrees on Memorial Day and Tuesday before dropping to near 80 later in the week.

Sunday, after persistent cloud cover and a brief rainfall before noon, temperatures rose to 85 degrees. A heat advisory was in effect for much of the southern half of Minnesota Sunday stretching from St. Cloud south to the Iowa border and across the width of the state.

Duluth also set a new record high Saturday at 92 degrees breaking a record high of 85 degrees set in 1978, which was tied in the notably warm May of 2014.

The week ahead

The forecast calls for sunny skies and 87 degrees for Memorial Day with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms at night. By Tuesday, the chance for thunderstorms increases to 40 percent, mainly after 1 p.m. Look for highs of 87 degrees on a breezy day with wind gusts up to 25 mph. Showers and thunderstorms are likely Wednesday, again mainly after 1 p.m. The chance for storms will continue Thursday through the first weekend in June but high temperatures will moderate to the mid-70s for the coming weekend.

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