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Making ice: Plan for below-average temps rest of week

With several sunfish and crappies on the ice, Greg Simones baits his line Tuesday, Dec. 4, on Rice Lake in Brainerd. Anglers have been cautiously walking out on area lakes due to the early season ice. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

With several sunfish and crappies on the ice, Greg Simones baited his line Tuesday, Dec. 4, on Rice Lake in Brainerd.

Anglers have been cautiously walking out on area lakes due to the early-season ice. Public safety officials warn, as always, no ice is ever 100 percent safe. But lake ice is likely to keep forming with the single-digit lows expected throughout the week.

The National Weather Service forecast shows a 6-degree low temperature Wednesday night, Dec. 5, followed by a low of zero degrees Thursday night and 7 degrees Friday night.

Although Wednesday calls for a 40 percent chance of snow between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., the overnight hours are expected to bring biting, blustery northwest winds, ushering in a clear and cold Thursday with a forecast high of 13 degrees.

The cold weather swooping into the lakes area, should the forecast hold, is below normal for this time of year. According to data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the normal high for the Brainerd area on Dec. 6—the day with the coldest expected temps this week—is 27 degrees, while the low typically does not dip below 10 degrees.

It's nowhere near record territory, however—the most recent temperature record on this date, set in 2013, showed the mercury never rose above zero degrees. Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, the temperature reached 61 degrees on Dec. 6, 1939, and never dipped below 30 degrees on the same date in 1980. A bone-chilling 22 degrees below zero was the recorded low on Dec. 6, 1955.

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