Dry Wind: What is it and how does it impact crops

Alberta is a windy province, especially south of Calgary, but did you know that the wind here is exceptionally dry too.

It’s described as a dry wind and CTV Calgary Meteorologist David Spence says there is an actual definition for it.

“If the relative humidity is less than 30 per cent and the temperature is 25 Celsius or higher, that is the standard definition of a dry wind.”

Spence says we get those dry winds because of our relative location to the mountains, but adds that the definition doesn’t really apply here.

Drying winds can effect your crops.

“How it works here is if a plant’s moisture is evaporating at a greater rate than it’s being replaced by moisture from the soil, it’s a drying wind,” according to Spence.

That plant is going to wilt and eventually die if it doesn’t get the proper moisture.

“It’s a huge problem in southern Alberta,” says Spence, “but it is something you can’t really do anything about because of our geographical location, you get a westerly wind, coming off the mountains, it’s very dry and you just have to deal with it.”

Dry winds aren’t as prevalent across the rest of the prairies in Saskatchewan and Manitoba because of, believe it or not, tropical moisture.

The veteran meteorologist says during the summer months there is an air mass that moves up from the Gulf of Mexico and often is a factor in helping to form some of the big thunderstorms across the two provinces.