(Rural Roots Canada) – We’re now in the period known as the Spring Dip.  It’s a piece of forest fire jargon describing the period just before green-up, when deciduous trees suck up tremendous amounts of moisture from the ground and neighbouring plants in order to sprout leaves.   Needles on coniferous trees become very dry.  It’s one of the driest times of year,  making the forests easily susceptible to fire.  The fires in Slave Lake in 2011 and Fort MacMurray in 2016, both started in May, near the time of the Spring Dip.   And this year, human-caused fires are already burning in both Alberta and BC.  Alberta forestry minister Todd Loewen told the media last week that fire starts in Alberta in 2024 are already outpacing those in 2023.

The only solution to the Spring Dip is spring precipitation, and there is very little of that in this week’s prairie outlook.

The map below shows expected accumulated rainfall up to the evening of Sunday, April 28.

prairie weather
Courtesy: ECCC

There will be rain across the prairies, but soaking rain is unlikely.   The map, based on the Canadian Global model, shows most areas will get less than 20 mm of rain over the seven day period.  This won’t be enough to combat the Spring Dip.

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The rain may not be helpful in the forest fire fighting effort, but it does bring some benefit to the agricultural community.   As most areas will escape major rainstorms, seeding operations may endure only minor interruptions, with the rain providing more help than harm.

Here’s Monday’s precipitation map, from ECCC:

prairie weather
Courtesy: ECCC

An area of rain that developed in east central Alberta on Sunday moves into southern Saskatchewan by midday Monday (green).  It could be rather blustery, as strong wind is expected in southeastern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan.   It won’t necessarily be windy enough for the rain to be falling sideways, but it could be rather miserable for a few hours, especially from midday onward. Snow falls in the Rockies (blue).  Showers are expected in Western Manitoba.  Across the prairies on Monday, highs will be from 5-15 degrees, with warmer weather in northern Alberta, and freezing conditions in northern Manitoba near Hudson Bay.


Tuesday will be a much quieter day across the prairies.  Showers will move out of southern Manitoba by midday, and the rest of the prairies will be dry, with little wind.   It will be warm, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan with high temperatures about 2 to 5 degrees above average.

prairie weather
Courtesy:  Pivotal Weather


Wednesday’s another quiet day across the prairies, with a few showers in the far northwestern corner of Alberta developing in the afternoon.   In far northern regions of Manitoba, there could be a small amount of snow and freezing rain.  Elsewhere across the prairies, it will be dry, with temperatures reaching the high teens across all three provinces.   20 degree highs are possible Wednesday in central Saskatchewan.


Active weather returns to the prairies on Thursday, though it will affect mostly the northern forests, leaving the agriculture zones with little beneficial moisture.  Snow falls in the central Rockies, while the southern prairies stay dry.   And warm, too, with temperatures reaching the low 20s in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  It will be cooler in Alberta, with highs between 10 and 15.


Below average temperatures return to all three prairie provinces, with rain or a rain/snow mix in southwestern Alberta,  rain in Saskatchewan north of Saskatoon, and rain in Manitoba across most of the province east of Virden.  It will likely be quite windy in parts of southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.   Seeding may have to pause in southern Manitoba, though in Alberta and Saskatchewan, plan to continue.

Saturday and Sunday:

Saturday’s another dry day across the prairies,  with no significant weather expected.  Sunday, though, is more active again, with rain and high elevation snow in Alberta, and rain in southwestern Saskatchewan.  The rest of the prairies will remain dry.   Temperatures across the prairies will peak in the low double digits, with a Low in east central Alberta generating a brisk wind in the area on Sunday.  That will draw down cool air from the north, with highs along and west of the highway 2 corridor peaking in the double digits.

COMPARE TO LAST WEEK: Prairie Weather This Week: April 15