Finally, spring weather in Canada

Central and eastern Canada move into spring

The forecast during the last half of March is calling for above normal temperatures across the country. Although the winter has not been that severe in parts of eastern and central Canada, the warmer temperatures will bring hope that spring fieldwork is just around the corner.

Spring arrives in Canada and with it, renewed hope that fieldwork is just around the corner. Tweet this

The past month saw temperatures fluctuate wildly in the region, moving from above to below normal temperatures with some regularity.

Precipitation has also varied from blizzards to heavy rain. The warmer conditions should also keep the precipitation in liquid form for the rest of the month. This change in conditions should help farmers get into the fields in a timely manner in April.

The warmer temperatures will also help with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The lower seaway is scheduled to begin operations before the end of March and the warmer temperatures will help melt the existing ice on the Great Lakes.

Prairie temperatures begin to climb

Temperatures across Western Canada have been well below normal from mid-January through mid-March. During this period, the forecasts and actual weather has been consistently below normal.

Temperatures in the last two weeks of March are expected to reach normal to above normal values across the Prairies. This warm spell should melt the existing snowpack and allow planting to begin in a reasonably normal time frame.

The rapid turn to above normal temperatures will increase the chances of flooding in southern Manitoba as a heavy snowpack in the Dakotas and Minnesota will melt rapidly.

The main concern in the central and southern Prairies is the lack of subsoil moisture. Snowfall across the southern and central Prairie regions has been well below normal over the past three months. Timely rains are going to be needed this growing season due to the lack of subsoil moisture in the southern two-thirds of the Prairies.

B.C. emerges from a cool, wet winter

The cold, wet winter weather conditions are transitioning to spring with temperatures expected to be above normal through the end of March. Rainfall is expected to be close to normal in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, the warmer temperature will increase the chances of flooding in the interior mountain passes. This may cause some disruptions to grain movement to the West Coast. 

Bottom line

Despite the cold conditions over the winter, it appears spring is just around the corner. The largest concern for planting is that many areas of Western Canada did not receive normal precipitation this winter. This will increase the need for timely rains this growing season. Warm temperatures should keep precipitation in liquid form for the rest of the month.


Bruce Burnett is the director of markets and weather at Glacier Farm Media. Bruce can be reached at bburnett@farmmedia.com or via the website at MarketsFarm.com.