Fine weather continues for crop development and maturation across the Canadian Prairies. This is a pattern similar to last summer when late planting and wet conditions threatened to bring a poor crop but great summer weather ended up bringing about a great crop.
However, the outcome of this year's crop is far from over and there are still some obstacles that could damage the tally.
While many areas have recently seen rather beneficial growing weather, we are starting to see increasing spots of drier conditions pop up. This is as a result of the hit-and-miss nature of summer showers and thundershowers. Southern and southwest Alberta has been rather hot and dry during the last few weeks and need more moisture. There are potentially some locally moderate showers for some of these areas today, but the outlook for the next week then becomes dry again.
Dry areas across Saskatchewan and Manitoba are more widely scattered with most areas reporting soil moisture mostly in the adequate category. The drier conditions are mostly near the U.S./Canadian border, where showers have been more limited during the past week or two.
Warm to occasionally hot weather and plenty of sunshine have helped crop development move along quickly, but can be blamed for drying out topsoil fairly quickly for some areas.
The upcoming weather pattern shows more of what we have seen since mid-July. A few showers and thundershowers will accompany any weak cold fronts crossing Western Canada during the next one to two weeks, but typically this type of pattern does not bring widespread rainfall but rather locally moderate or heavy showers. Some areas will continue to miss or get just small amounts of rain leading dry areas to continue to grow.
Periods of some hot weather are also possible with the middle and end of next week looking quite warm for most of the region. Like we have seen for many of the past months, Manitoba is more susceptible to seeing some cooler weather at times.
Overall the outlook is still largely favorable for maturing crops and the beginning of harvest during the next few weeks, but the lack of rainfall may become a little more of an issue as we move deeper into August.
The overall pattern across North America is largely unchanged from what we have seen for many months. A potential problem could come in the form of an early frost or freeze later this month or during September. While warmer-than-normal temperatures are generally forecast for the next few weeks, we see some threat of a quick-hitting cool snap before crops have finished maturing or have been harvested. This is something we will have to watch for in the coming weeks.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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