Ag Weather Forum

Some Prairie Areas Miss Out on Beneficial Rains

Joel Burgio
By  Joel Burgio , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Large sections of Alberta and portions of Saskatchewan saw at least moderate rainfall and in some cases heavy rainfall in the last week. (DTN photo by Elaine Shein)

Significant rains have occurred during the most recent seven-day period through some of the driest areas of the Western Canadian Prairies. Large sections of Alberta and portions of Saskatchewan saw at least moderate rains and in some cases heavy rainfall during the period. This likely means at least some improvement in crop conditions for areas that received the heaviest of this rainfall. This was especially helpful for parts of southern and western Alberta that has been so dry during this growing season.

However, even with this beneficial rainfall the region still runs well-below normal for the season and in some cases the rain totals during this past week did not even bring the 30-day rainfall up to normal levels. In any case, the rains were needed and should help somewhat.

This applies to areas of the southwest that have been very dry and received beneficial rains during the past week, but not everyone in the area had enough rain to make much of a difference, especially as temperatures have again rose. We note that portions of southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan missed out on much of this rain and still need a good, general soaking rain.

The current upper level pattern over the United States and Canada points towards a set-up that could bring another significant rain event to the Canadian Prairies. The ridge position is currently over the south-central U.S. region and showing signs of shifting a little to the east into the Mississippi River Valley during the next five to seven days. As this occurs, a strong upper level low is expected to slide southward over the western part of Canada. This low then moves east across the Canadian Prairies or the Northern Plains of the U.S., but is slowed down by the ridging over the Mississippi River Valley. This slower-moving upper level trough and its resulting surface storm should mean significant rains for the Canadian Prairies probably during the timeframe of later this weekend or early next week.

The rains associated with this system would be highly beneficial if they occurred through southwest and central areas, as this region still runs well-below normal for the seasonal rainfall to date. However, if the rain hits the eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba area, it would be neutral at best and could be unfavorable if it leads to flooding in an area that has already had some issues with heavy rainfall during the season.

The current thinking supports the more easterly track on this low, but there is some uncertainty in this outlook. This system will be watched to determine its potential to bring either beneficial rains to the western growing areas or flooding rains to the eastern locations.

(ES/)

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