The first part of spring is a good time to check out the soil moisture situation in the Canadian Prairies. And, one benefit of the heavy rain and snow that the region absorbed during the fall season of 2016 is that soil moisture supplies are mostly adequate to surplus going into this spring.
Precipitation since the first of the year has shown some variety, with several areas actually taking in less than average the normal precipitation, with several locales having a big dropoff. The largest area with a dry trend is in northern Alberta, where some crop areas have seen either 50 percent or below normal precipitation for the time period from mid-January to mid-March. There is also a large portion of southern Manitoba with this kind of a drier trend, and a sector of south-central Saskatchewan is in the same below-normal precipitation mode. Other major crop producing areas, however, have seen at least normal precipitation and some have had as much as 50 percent above normal precipitation during the past 60 days.
Forecasts from the U.S. GFS model for the next week keep mostly light precipitation in the Prairies. Some locally moderate totals may occur in southern and eastern Manitoba, but the majority of the remainder of the region has no more than light amounts. This includes the northern Alberta sector where the past 60 days have been the driest.
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