To say the weather has been strange in Borderland would be an understatement.

Along with having a relatively mild winter, the end of the season and introduction to spring has been dry, with little in the way of snow or rainfall.

The Falls had experienced some drought in March, only getting .36 inches of precipitation the entire month.

Such an arid climate has meant International Falls and the surrounding area had been at increased risk of fire hazards.

Meteorologist Patrick Ayd of the National Weather Service in Duluth said while such a dry climate isn't common in northern Minnesota, it's not unheard of either.

"Something like this has certainly happened before," he said. "Usually at this time we have a bit more snowpack, but there have been several times where we lose it earlier."

The lack of snow on the ground, Ayd said, is what has been largely fueling the dry weather and the fire hazard warnings Koochiching County has been under, though it's never easy to nail down a specific cause.

"That's really what has been driving our concerns with the fire hazards," he said. "If we look back into the last month or so, it's largely driven by pressure patterns over the Arctic, so it's hard to say why any one period can be this dry, but the biggest thing was the loss of the snowpack."

However, relief is just around the corner.

"We're actually starting to get into a more wet period," meteorologist Karen Eagle said. Forecasts now call for substantial rainfall into the end of the week.

While getting some rain on the ground will help ease the risk of fire, Ayd said it takes several factors to determine how at risk an area is.

"Weather plays a small component of it, and then the fields across an area play an important factor as well," he said. "It will certainly help at least ease some of those concerns, but something like this is analyzed by various land agencies like tribal lands, federal lands and state lands. They all play a role in determining what the fields are and where we stand in regards to fire danger."

Along with the dry weather, wind has been sweeping through Borderland, which Ayd said the arid climate has been helping create.

"Things in spring tend to be a bit more windy because our weather systems tend to be stronger," he said. "When things are dry, things can mix into the atmosphere and they are able to drag down some winds, which can make things a bit gusty."

The drought in International Falls comes on the heels of some record-breaking temperatures since the beginning of the year. Including:

  • Jan. 4 - Tied record high of 38 degrees (2019)
  • Jan. 15 - Warmest low of 29 degrees (beat out 27 in 1973)
  • Feb. 13 - Record low of -42 degrees (beat -39 in 1909) and coldest high of -10 degrees (beat out -9 in 1909)
  • Feb. 14 - Record coldest high of -7 degrees (beat out -5 in 2015)
  • March 9 - Record warmest low of 35 degrees (beat out 34 in 2010) and record high of 63 degrees (beat out 51 in 1977)