Ag Weather Forum

Limited Canadian Prairies Rain Chance

Joel Burgio
By  Joel Burgio , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
A southwesterly air flow into the Prairies offers better, but still limited, rain chances through June 10. (Penn State Meteorology graphic)

Across the Canadian Prairies, generally below-normal rainfall has allowed seeding to progress across. A recent turn to much warmer weather will improve germination in areas with adequate soil moisture. However, dryness is now becoming of greater concern for many locations, especially central and southern Saskatchewan. Stress will likely increase and development might suffer until a significant rainfall event develops.

In the short range, through June 6, rainfall of 0.25 inch (6 millimeters) or more will be mostly confined to northern and easternmost areas. Conditions continue very warm in the west for much of this period, while the eastern areas will see some very warm weather and also some periods of more seasonal temperatures. This is likely to allow a rapid seeding pace, but it is also likely to further deplete available soil moisture and increase stress to early developing crops.

During the time frame from June 7 through June 9, we look for a strong jet stream on either side of the Canada-U.S. border. This jet stream track includes: a trough (low pressure) over the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.; a ridge (high pressure) located either over the Dakotas, or into Manitoba and western Ontario in Canada, depending on the model; and another trough over eastern Canada dipping southward into the northeast U.S.

It is likely that the area just south of this jet stream will be relatively warm. The European model shows this area further north and, as a result, suggests that the eastern Prairies may be very warm during this period. Southerly winds aloft might also transport some moisture northward from the U.S. This would allow for an increase in rainfall chances.

The models both forecast an increase in rainfall over the Prairies during the June 7-9 time frame. The European model is forecasting near to above normal rainfall during this period, which would begin to improve crop conditions. The U.S. model still suggests that this rainfall would average below normal. This likely would help somewhat, but probably not significantly, especially after the recent turn to very warm to hot weather.

In summary, the further-north jet stream and the southerly flow ahead of a slowly-advancing trough are expected to increase the chances for needed rains in the Prairies through June 9. However, it is questionable whether this moisture will be enough to ease dryness, especially in the driest areas in central Saskatchewan. One positive note on this outlook is that this is the type of change that you would want to see to allow better rain chances in the Prairies. So, even if this chance fails, there may be additional chances not that far down the road.

Joel Burgio can be reached at



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