High latitude blocking remains a big reason why many of the mid latitude areas of North America remain stuck with cool temperatures and periodic wet weather. The lack of warmer, drier weather has put most of the major crop areas of western Canada in the range of 7 to 10 days behind normal for seeding operations to date.
Cool air temperatures and cloudy periods are keeping soil temperatures low for this time of year risking seed rot. Soil moisture is rated quite good for most areas but with the cool soil temperatures germination is still a fairly hard bargain.
During the next several days weather forecast charts continue to paint a less than appetizing period of weather for seeding operations but there may be some signs of improving conditions a little further down the road.
The blocking patterns across the northern hemisphere are likely to continue for much of the remainder of May but there are indications that the blocking ridges at higher latitudes may settle southward enough to put the Prairies into a zone where drier, milder weather begins to take hold for a time later next week and beyond.
The million dollar question then becomes how long the more favorable weather sticks around. Since the blocking is expected to still be in place it may not take too much for cool, damp conditions to resume again.
Longer range computer models for June are about 50/50 for the the region with respect to crop weather. During June crops should be emerging and developing and current weather forecasts would bring more favorable weather for crops across the west than across the east.
Cooler and sometimes damp conditions are predicted for Manitoba to southern Saskatchewan while milder, drier weather is the early take for Alberta and central Saskatchewan. This is a pattern we have seen repeated during the past 6 months with the eastern Prairies getting the cold shoulder more than Alberta.
Forecasts of a developing El Nino this summer and fall may not be the best news for the region since during the summer months an El Nino can amplify wetter and slightly cooler than normal conditions for the Canadian Prairies.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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