Cycles point to potential early Sept. Prairie frost: Lerner

Cyclical weather patterns developing in Western Canada point to cooler temperatures and the possibility of frost in early September, according to meteorologist Drew Lerner of World Weather Inc. in Kansas City.

Based on a number of studies over the past few months, “we think we’ve identified a pattern in the atmosphere that is repeating at 18 to 19 days at a time, depending on the location,” said Lerner.

A cold snap on July 26 in southern Saskatchewan, followed by another cold snap around Aug. 13 to 15, also coincides with a regular 10-day occurring cycle in the atmosphere. Lerner said the weather models are trending cooler again, suggesting the cool cycle will repeat itself starting Sept. 3, and then last for a week to 10 days.

“It’s too soon to jump all over it… but there is the potential that we may experience another cool surge in the eastern Prairies,” said Lerner.

That first week of September would be a little early for a frost, he added, but not out of the question for this time of year.

Looking at trends, Lerner placed Manitoba and northeastern Saskatchewan at the highest odds of seeing a frost in the upcoming cool cycle, with Alberta more likely to see something the following week.

“It’s not set in stone at this point, but some of the models are pointing this way,” cautioned Lerner, adding “we recognize that it’s a threat period, but not necessarily a sure thing.”

The cooler period will also bring the chance of increased precipitation, which could lead to some harvest disruptions, said Lerner — although he added the rainfall would not be heavy and any disruptions would likely be short-lived.

Looking farther out, October is forecast to be cooler than normal and dry in Western Canada, said Lerner.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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