While not enough moisture to erase the dry conditions facing the central and Southern prairies, Southern Saskatchewan has seen some favourable moisture in March in some of the driest areas.
In recent weeks, DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Joel Burgio reported well-below-normal winter precipitation across the prairies over the December/January/February period, in a piece titled "Dry Early Spring Outlook in the Prairies." Indeed, AAFC maps showing the percent of average precipitation received in the Nov. 1 through March 4 period showed most of the prairies having received between 40% and 85% of normal moisture, with scattered areas of Manitoba rated at less than 40%. Since then, AAFC has updated the monthly Canadian Drought Monitor as of Feb. 28, which shows the most critical D3, or extreme drought, in southern Saskatchewan surrounding the Regina area growing by 0.3% since Jan. 31, while the area in Southern Saskatchewan facing D2, or severe drought, grew by 4%.
The accompanying graphic points to some relief in March, with the dark-green shaded areas in Saskatchewan receiving 115% to 150% of normal precipitation, the grey area seeing 150% to 200% of average precipitation and the blue area receiving more than 200% of average precipitation for the 30 days ending March 19.
The Percent of Average Precipitation chart for the winter season (not shown), or Nov. 1 through March 19, shows the driest areas of the prairies found in central and Northern Alberta, Southeast Saskatchewan along with almost all of Manitoba where spring moisture will be key.
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