Eastern Prairies brace for April melt

CNS – It looks to be a soggy month of April for most farmers across the eastern portion of the Prairies.

The three-month forecast, starting in April, for southern Saskatchewan calls for above-normal precipitation while the area around Winnipeg is expected to see a number of systems moving through the early part of the month.

“We could easily see some precipitation (around Winnipeg) almost every day from the 1st to the 11th of April,” said Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.

She added every part of the basin that flows into Manitoba has seen “a lot of precipitation” in the last three to six months.

The wettest part of the Prairies though is found in southwestern Manitoba, according to Trevor Hadwen, an agroclimate specialist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

He adds southeast Saskatchewan is also wet, but not to the same extent.

“There was still standing water and sloughs but we saw a real recession of that water,” he said. “It is certainly wet but again the water isn’t at the level it was two to three years ago.”

Recent warm temperatures have allowed some of the water in that region to begin moving already.

Hadwen says this should reduce the risk of flooding.

Over in Alberta the situation is significantly different.

Northern Alberta has been fairly dry over the winter period with a lack of snowfall north of Edmonton and in the Peace River region, according to Hadwen, adding the southern portion of the province is even drier.

“It’s always a bit concerning in the spring when you’re looking at that area and see no snowfall all the way through all of March,” he said.

Warm temperatures and winds are drawing even more moisture from the ground too.

He adds central Saskatchewan looks fairly good at this point.

“Central Saskatchewan had a very dry winter period but going into the fall we had so much moisture in the ground that there’s no concern there,” he said.

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