Ag Weather Forum

Promising May Rainfall Outlook for Western Canada

Doug Webster
By  Doug Webster , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
The May precipitation forecast produced by the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction shows promising forecast for most of Western Canada's crop areas that will be planting during the next few weeks, as long as it does not rain on too many days. (Graphics courtesy of U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction)

Rain and some snow across eastern and southeastern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan during the past week have cut into the dry precipitation departures for the spring. However, dryness remains a concern for south-central Saskatchewan and western Alberta. Moisture is not a problem across southern Manitoba at this time.

A chill has been in the air across many portions of the Prairies during the recent week, but as we move forward during the next week we should see warmer weather as the cold upper trough across Eastern Canada weakens some and shifts east. A developing upper level ridge across Western Canada during next week will bring a return of above-normal temperatures, but also a lack of precipitation.

The sunny, dry weather will be great for fieldwork, but not so good for the aforementioned dry areas of Western Canada. With seeding season knocking on the door, a good soaking would be just what the doctor ordered for the still dry regions. Of course, too much rain for far southeast Alberta or southern Manitoba could lead to fields that are too wet for fieldwork or seeding.

With such a wide range of soil moisture conditions across the Prairies it will be nearly impossible to remedy all of the problems as we move into seeding season. We can hope that the majority of the region is in decent shape for seeding as we move into May.

The May precipitation forecast by the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction is produced and updated daily and has been fairly consistent in showing potential for above-normal rainfall across most of the Prairies next month.

Green and blue indicate above normal precipitation, while the differing shades of red depict expected dryness. Green and a spot of blue cover most of the main crop areas of Western Canada, which would be a promising forecast for most areas that will be planting during the next few weeks as long as it does not rain on too many days.

Temperature forecasts to go along with the rainfall prediction are showing milder-than-average conditions expected. If these forecasts verify there should be a pretty good start to the new crop season with improving soil moisture and temperatures that should allow for crop emergence.

A glance at the shorter range models that forecast for the next two weeks show little or no rainfall expected through next week across the Prairies, but during the second week of May we see increased potential of a couple of storm systems that could deliver some worthwhile rains to the dry areas of the west.

Doug Webster can be reached at



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