Weather undergoes changes as we go through time. In some cases, huge changes can occur in short periods. The same can be said for the computer models we use to help forecast the future weather and climate for any one location or region.
During the past few weeks, most of the longer-range models, including some of the climate models, have indicated that there was potential of a drier-than-average start to spring for the main crop areas of the Prairies raising some concern. As quickly as the sun rises and falls we have seen a rather sizable shift in model predictions for March.
The reasons why are not clearly evident, but could be tied to minor changes in water temperatures across the equatorial Pacific during the recent week or two. A second potential reason could be the recent establishment of a strong blocking high pressure area across northeastern Canada into the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.
Whatever the reason, we now are seeing a little more evidence that March may see above-normal precipitation totals for the Prairie crop region. A low pressure area moving across southwest Canada Sunday into Monday may be the first in a series of precipitation events for the region. Moderate snows, possibly heavy in a few places, may push through the central and southern Prairies as low pressure takes a favorable track to deposit precipitation.
Snow depths are currently near or a little below normal across the southern and central crop region but build as one moves northward into central and northern parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The ramifications down the road could be for even more of a spring flood once the snow pack begins to melt in a few weeks, especially if further storms occur as indicated by the climate models.
Temperatures are forecast to be on the low side of normal during March, but in the short term no severe cold is expected. Eventually temperatures will increase to allow the spring thaw to commence, hopefully in a manner to allow for the runoff to be in a more orderly fashion, but nature does not follow human's wishes most of the time.
While model forecasts are indicating an upswing in snow potential for the region, we can always hope that as fast as the computer models increased the precipitation threat, the snow may go away.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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