More hot, dry weather in store for Prairies

Hot, dry Prairie conditions aren’t likely to change in the weeks and months ahead, weather experts predict.

The hot, dry Prairie weather conditions are forecasted to continue for a while yet.

“August looks like it’s going to be warmer than normal,” says Environment Canada's senior climatologist, Dave Phillips.

He forecasts more of the same for September and October.

Environment Canada is also calling for Prairie-wide drier than normal conditions in August. Models for the September and October period are uncertain, but Phillips suspects it might continue to be dry.

Weather Network meteorologist Brett Soderholm also sees dryness persisting, at least to mid-month if not the latter half of August.

“We’re going to be having a lot drier conditions expected across the region, temperatures are going to be either at seasonal or slightly above, and with this comes the increased risk for drought conditions to persist,” says Soderholm.

Parched

The driest Prairie growing zones this year have been in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Alberta’s most arid areas for 2018 run from Lethbridge to Medicine Hat, Phillips says. He notes some regions there have experienced below 40 per cent of normal precipitation in the last 60 days.

“Anywhere due south of Calgary straight down to the U.S. international border up toward Medicine Hat, that’s one of the most dry places in Alberta,” adds Soderholm.

Also qualifying among the hottest spots are parts of Saskatchewan.

“The area of Maple Creek, Rosetown and Battlefords down to Swift Current, they’re seeing about half of their normal rainfall,” Phillips says.

Soderholm calls Saskatchewan’s area of Kindersley to Swift Current down to the Val Marie-Cypress Hills region “one of the driest spots on the Prairies right now.”

Wetter regions

Lack of precipitation hasn’t been an issue for generally the northern agricultural belt, as well as southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba, Phillips notes.

Not all of that precipitation has been beneficial, as Soderholm points out Alberta areas north of Jasper have experienced hail and heavy downpours. Hail also fell going down through to Calgary, he adds.

By comparison, Manitoba has fared well, receiving two-thirds to three-quarters of its normal precipitation, Phillips says.

“That’s certainly a vast improvement of what it had been, [after] going through record dry spells from last fall to almost mid-spring,” he says.

Bottom line

Manitoba’s faring best in a dry Prairie season, but the parched conditions in the driest parts of hot zones Alberta and Saskatchewan aren’t forecast to be alleviated.

Article by: Richard Kamchen