Ag Weather Forum

No Letup in Western Canada Dry Pattern

Joel Burgio
By  Joel Burgio , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Both U.S. and Euro forecast models feature stationary high pressure in the upper atmosphere over Western Canada, which maintains the very dry pattern that has supported the Fort McMurray, Alberta wildfires. (Penn State graphic)

Chances for a significant break in the dry weather pattern over western and northern portions of the Canadian Prairies have diminished during the past week. Forecast charts covering the eight-to-10 day period now show a significant upper level ridge (high pressure) covering the Gulf of Alaska and extending across northwest areas of Canada. This ridge is in a position to block storm systems from moving in off the Pacific Ocean, or at least to divert them away from the driest areas of central and northern Alberta in the area where the catastrophic wildfires continue as of late week.

The short-range maps covering the one-to-seven day period do show a couple of cold fronts moving through the region. However, with the development of the upper level ridge, these fronts will have little available moisture to work with. This will result in a couple of wind shifts and a somewhat more variable temperature pattern, but little significant shower activity occurring. The only area that may some needed rainfall might be in southwest locations, as easterly flow develops on the back side of the high pressure systems that move in from the north. However, this moisture will be minimal and will not reach to the very dry areas of central and northern Alberta or northwestern Saskatchewan.

As reported last week, the long-range outlooks for May suggest an increased chance for rain, but as of now, there are few signs of such a development during the ten-day forecast period.



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