Ag Weather Forum

New Round of Precip Ahead For Prairies

Joel Burgio
By  Joel Burgio , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
The impact of late-spring snow and cold is still resonating through the Kansas wheat crop. (DTN photo by Pam Smith)

Across the Canadian Prairies, the past seven days have been very beneficial for the western sector. Much of Alberta along with Saskatchewan were dry and very warm. This area is where much of the remaining crop from the 2016 season remains to be harvested. Temperatures during this time averaged above to, on some days, well-above normal. This should have allowed fields to dry out somewhat during the period; however, some fields are likely still wet. This was a much-needed, favorable turn to the weather pattern. However, it may be ending very soon.

The Prairies will stay mostly dry through early Friday. Showers and rain should develop over much of Alberta during Friday. This should expand to include western and northern Saskatchewan during Saturday and continue in the area Sunday as well. Rainfall potential appears to be approximately 0.25-0.75 inch (6-19 mm) and locally heavier over much of Alberta through western and northern Saskatchewan during the period Friday through Sunday. The showers shift into the south and east areas of the Prairies after that, while the north and west areas turn drier. Temperatures are currently running above normal in the west and below normal in the east. The west is expected to turn cooler, while the east turns warmer during the next five days. The cooler temperatures, plus rainfall, will likely mean delays to the drying process for the wet fields of the region.

The longer-range outlook for the Prairies region is somewhat more uncertain. I am forecasting a near to below-normal temperature pattern for the region, with rainfall averaging near to below normal in the west and near to above normal in the east. This pattern should allow for some drying of the wet fields in the west and north, but the cooler temperatures would slow this process. The upper-level pattern at the end of the 10-day period shows a mean trough located over the Rockies region of the U.S. This trough appears to be of a moderate to strong nature. We also note a tendency for ridging in the eastern U.S at the time. The combination of trough west and ridge east tends to send moisture from the U.S region toward the north. There is some question whether this flow holds together long enough to allow the rains to reach the southern and eastern Prairies; but, as we mentioned on prior discussions, this is easier to do in the spring than it is during the winter. We also still see a northeast Canada trough as well. This trough likely means northern Canada will be somewhat cooler than normal. This cooler weather should be able to slide southward into the south-central Canada region, affecting at least Manitoba and possibly westward to Alberta.

Joel Burgio can be reached at



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