A weather pattern change across western Canada during the past couple of weeks has brought much needed rainfall to many areas. Western and northwestern Alberta has missed out on the major portion of the rainfall but even here some shower activity has been helpful.
During July a large portion of southern Alberta, much of Saskatchewan and Manitoba have seen a major rebound in rainfall with the accompanying chart showing blue colors across areas that were red just a couple of weeks ago. The blue colors indicate more than 150 percent of normal rainfall for the 30 day period with dark blue areas more than twice the normal rain for the given period.
The timely rainfall has boosted soil moisture levels to much more acceptable levels in many areas and likely will save many crops from withering away this summer as well as improving the outlook for crop harvest. The most recent rainstorm brought from 1 to 3 inches (25-76 mm) of rain to much of southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba with some flooding even being a problem for a few spots.
The upswing in rainfall during the past few weeks has not been entirely without some problems with reports of strong winds, hail, spotty flooding, and lodging of crops coming in. More rain is also needed for central and western Alberta to bring crop development back to acceptable levels for mid summer.
The outlook for the coming week shows a drier weather pattern coming back as the subtropical ridge across the south-central U.S. shifts back into the interior U.S. West and pokes northward into southwest Canada. This process will push the storm track that has recently brought beneficial rains to the Prairies northward and allow for warming temperatures. Overall this is not a problem for most areas as some warmth and sunshine after a good watering is favorable for crop growth.
Further down the road some of the forecast models imply that new energy from the Pacific could bring a return of showery conditions during the second week of August. This could be good timing after a week of drier weather and hopefully Alberta might see more rain this time around. Model products for the month of August continue to paint near to above normal rainfall and seasonable temperatures across the Prairies which should help maturing and filling crops.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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