Fears of an early killing frost are diminishing across the Canadian Prairies as late-summer warmth and favorable growing conditions have helped crops make quick advancement. From Alberta east to Manitoba, most crops have reached maturity and swathing and harvest operations have increased rapidly during the past week.
The weather has been a major factor to the late-season success of this year's crop with above-normal temperatures and just enough rainfall to help crops finish up development after a rather slow start due to cool and sometimes wet weather during June, July, and early August. The above-normal temperature pattern has been largely due to the position of the jet stream during the recent few weeks.
Most of the time since early August the jet stream has been located near or north of the Prairies allowing warmth from the western U.S. ridge to expand northward. Nearly all of the computer guidance we use continue to show a warmer-than-normal weather pattern continuing during the next couple of weeks with minimal threat of any significant chill.
A bump in the road for harvest will come this weekend into Monday for the southern half of the region as rain and showers push across the region, but dry, warm weather is expected to return to the entire region for most of the remainder of next week. The areas to receive weekend rains are also the areas where harvest is the most advanced.
Lower temperatures should be expected for the region during the next few days, but not cool enough for any damaging freezes. A few areas of northern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba may see some patchy frost during the next couple of nights, but nothing that should be of widespread concern.
The weather outlook for much of the remainder of September's harvest is looking pretty good for what appears to be an above-average yield for many crops. The above-normal temperature pattern looks to be the favored pattern through at least mid-September and with near-to-below-normal rainfall predicted, swathing, combining and harvest should be able to advance quickly.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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