Temperatures across the Canadian Prairies for April to date are following very much in the same path we saw for many of the past several months in the below-normal category. Manitoba has been further below normal than areas to the west, due mostly to the lingering snow cover and the position of the upper air weather pattern that continues to deliver cold air southward more easily across central and eastern Canada.
Most of the main crop areas have lost the winter snow cover during the past 10 days, including southern and southwest Manitoba, but the storm of the past 48 hours has left some locally heavy snow totals across parts of western Alberta. The addition of moderate to locally heavier rainfall is also influencing some rivers to rise to full to the banks. Some minor low land flooding cannot be ruled out across some areas during the next few days.
To make matters worse, a new storm may affect most of the region beginning later this weekend into Tuesday of next week. This storm threatens to bring at least moderate rainfall to central and eastern parts of the Prairies with some snow not out of the question. This additional precipitation could further increase any flooding that may develop during the coming week or two and will need to be watched.
The weather looks to remain on the cool side of normal for another week or so for the region. The reason is that a well-established blocking pattern across most of the Northern Hemisphere at the moment does not look like it wants to go on a break anytime soon.
An unseasonably strong surface high pressure area for this time of year will develop across central Canada during the next several days and push lower-than-normal temperatures southwestward into the Prairies into the middle of next week. Windy, wet weather for the central and eastern Prairies early next week will pretty much shut down any attempt at fieldwork.
We are expecting to see some improvement by later next week across the region with drier weather and milder weather, but with the high latitude blocking still in place we can't rule out a return of cool, damp conditions after a brief break.
Delays in spring fieldwork and the start of seeding is pretty much a given at this point. With the main seeding period still a few weeks away, there is still time for the weather pattern to straighten itself out, but most model forecasts are at best less than impressive in making a big turnaround in the chilly pattern Canada has been stuck in.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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