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Lake effects: Bemidji's impact less dramatic than Duluth

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If you've been to downtown Duluth in June, you understand what is meant by the phrase "cooler by the lake."

With water temperatures in the mid 40s and an easterly wind, areas near the west shore of Lake Superior may be significantly cooler this time of year than areas even a few miles inland. This cooling effect was on display Tuesday afternoon when strong east winds kept the temperature at the lake shore in the low 50s while six miles west, Duluth International Airport recorded temperatures in the low 70s.

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A similar effect can be noted this time of year near Lake Bemidji, but on a much smaller, less dramatic scale. Area fishermen have reported water temperatures in the low 60s. During the brief heat wave earlier this week temperatures at the Bemidji Regional Airport topped out at 89 degrees both Monday and Tuesday. Approximately three miles east , area weather observers reported temperatures hovering in the low 80s on the west side of Lake Bemidji . The situation is repeated accordingly when the wind is from another direction. Other large lakes in the area have a similar effect on localized temperatures, including Cass, Leech and Red lakes as well as Lake Winnibigoshish.

The situation is reversed in the fall when the lake is ice free and temperatures dip below freezing. The presence of a large lake with water temperatures in the 40s will keep areas immediately downwind somewhat warmer than areas farther away.

No lake cooling influence is necessary this weekend. The National Weather Service is forecasting partly cloudy skies and afternoon temperatures in the mid 60s with overnight lows dropping to around 50. So set up the Adirondack chairs on the deck or in the yard and enjoy the beautiful northwoods weather.

Tom Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation manager. Email him at tsiemers@bemidjipioneer.com

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