Only minor relief from rain seen for Prairie producers

(Resource News International) — Western Canadian producers, hoping to get some sort of reprieve from the continuous precipitation that has already cost valuable acreage and is now threatening production, will not be happy with the short- to medium-term forecasts.

“I’m afraid the weather pattern that has dominated much of the Canadian prairies this spring and early summer is going to stay pretty similar to what it has been,” said Drew Lerner with World Weather Inc. of Kansas City.

That means short periods of dryness, followed by significant precipitation.

Temperatures may cool a bit over the next couple of weeks and then possibly readings will begin to warm up, Lerner said.

“There will also be a minor decline in the amount of precipitation, which is probably the best thing I can tell a producer now, but that will only last for a little while,” Lerner said.

The one good thing in the forecast is that it will not rain as frequently or as significantly as it has in the past, he said.

“We may actually have a week or two of below-average precipitation, but as warmer readings begin to hit the Canadian Prairies later in July, that will set the stage for some additional rainfall,” he said.

The rain that will fall shouldn’t fill all the trenches that have been dug in order to drain the fields, he said. “It won’t be a bad situation, but it also will not be ideal growing weather either.”

Lerner acknowledged that the heavy rainfall received in the Yorkton and Saskatoon areas of Saskatchewan over the past couple of days didn’t do the soaked fields any favours.

Officially, there were indications that some of that area received about two to 3.5 inches of rain, he said. Unofficial reports from producers indicated the precipitation was closer to the four- to five-inch level.

The heavy thunderstorm activity that brought the heavy moisture to those areas was a hit-and-miss situation, Lerner said, noting the storm systems that moved across the region were certainly an aggravation to producers.

“Spits and spats”

On the flipside of the coin, however, was the Peace River region of northern Alberta, that the storm systems seem to have forgotten and where dryness issues remain.

“It certainly has not rained in the Peace River area as it has in other parts of the Canadian Prairies,” Lerner said. “The precipitation that has been received in that area has also not been that significant.” 

Weather outlooks for that area do not contain any well-organized rains for quite some time, he said, noting there will be a few “spits and spats” but no general soaking rain systems.

Temperatures in the Peace River region have been on the milder side, which has probably saved crops to a certain degree as it slowed the evaporation rate of what moisture is available, he noted.

There will be some shower activity in the area, Lerner said, but the precipitation will not be enough to make a difference in the soil moisture profile.

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