Ag Weather Forum

Welcome Rains Bolster Soil Moisture in W. Canada

Doug Webster
By  Doug Webster , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Seven-day accumulated precipitation, from May 18 to May 24, for the Canadian Prairies shows where some much-needed rain fell and will help improve soil moisture. (Chart courtesy of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's National Agroclimate Information Service)

Welcome rains fell on some of the driest parts of Alberta during the past week to bring soil moisture levels back into line for many areas. Much less rain has fallen from central Saskatchewan to southern Manitoba, but most of these areas were not as dry as their western neighbors. They still need a little more rain.

The accompanying chart supplied by Canada's National Agroclimate Information Service depicts weekly rain totals for the Prairies. A good portion of Alberta saw more than 50 millimeters (2 inches) of rain with spot totals over 100 mm (4 inches) through central areas.

The long-term soil moisture improvement far outweighs any short-term seeding time loss due to these rains and the early summer outlook for emerging and developing crops for Alberta and western Saskatchewan is clearly much better today than it was a week ago. The warm and dry weather prior to the recent rain event helped push seeding progress well-ahead of the five-year average across the western Prairies, so a few days of rain was not much of a problem for most.

Across the remaining areas of Saskatchewan into Manitoba, rainfall was much lighter during the past seven days, but soil moisture levels for many of these areas was in better shape to begin with. Seeding continues to run ahead of schedule and is complete for many areas with crops already emerging.

The weather outlook continues to look promising for this season's crop with more beneficial rains expected across the region during the next three or four days as a new low pressure area tracks along the U.S./Canadian border.

This new low pressure area should be able to muster light to moderate rains for most areas and a few spots may see totals reach or exceed 25 mm (1 inch) by the time Monday comes to a close. This next system should provide some rain to the eastern Prairies where the past event missed.

Temperatures have been normal to above normal for most areas recently and the mild trend should continue through the weekend before temperatures slide down a bit during the early to the mid part of next week. No frost or freezing point temperatures are indicated at this time for the middle of next week, but it should be cooler than we have seen lately as high pressure settles southward from the Northwest Territories.

The June weather outlook for Western Canada continues to be mostly favorable for developing crops. The latest outlook from the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction indicate that the weather is expected to average a little milder than normal for most areas while rainfall is forecast to be near normal with a few pockets of above normal totals expected.



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