Prairie Weather (Rural Roots Canada) – After our wet spring, some areas have returned to the point where any rain would be most welcome.   And there is some good news, with rain forecast for most parts of the prairie provinces this week.   Some of the drier regions of southern Saskatchewan benefitted from thunderstorms that rolled through Sunday.  But more is needed.  And more is on the way.   This map shows accumulated rainfall expected until the evening of Sunday, June 30:

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Courtesy: ECCC

The map shows significant rainfall across central Alberta, central and southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba.  There will be rain as well this week in southern Alberta, but lesser amounts.

After a promising start to the season with a wet May, rainfall has so far become rather scarce in June, with many areas recording below average rainfall so far this month.   This is a selection of charts from areas that have returned to a 30 day rainfall deficit:

Claresholm, AB.  43% of normal rainfall

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Brooks, AB   28% of normal rainfall

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Coronation, AB   52% of normal rainfall

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Swift Current, SK   57% of normal rainfall

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Moose Jaw, SK   47% of normal rainfall

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Charts courtesy:  NWS Climate Prediction Center

Elsewhere, rainfall in central Saskatchewan and across Manitoba has been above average.

Fortunately, this week’s forecast of wet weather is exactly what’s needed to boost soil moisture levels to allow crops to continue to flourish, though southeastern Alberta may be shortchanged.  This is not good news for Brooks, which, as above, has had only 28 percent of its normal rainfall over the past 30 days.


A rare outbreak of mid June frost may have damaged some Alberta crops between June 15 and June 20.   Early morning temperatures fell below zero, in the first mid-June frost in decades.

This map shows how many hours temperatures were below zero in that 5 day period:

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Courtesy: Government of Alberta

From the Alberta Agricultural Moisture Situation Update of June 20:

“you need to go back to the early part of the 20th century to readily find similar examples of mid-June frosts and they were apparently quite common over a three-decade period from 1900-1930. This coincidentally occurred during Alberta’s driest and most extreme period in our meteorological record.”

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This Week

It will be busy.  A series of systems rolling through the northern prairies, and another system travelling from Montana to Minnesota will provide opportunities for showers, rain, and storms across the prairies this week.


Southern Alberta and Southern Saskatchewan will be dry, but a Low near The Pas, Manitoba will provide some rain along a cold front extending back to northern BC, and along a warm front southeast to Winnipeg.   High humidity will make it rather uncomfortable in southern Manitoba, between Winnipeg and Portage La Prairie, and south to the US border.  There is a significant thunderstorm threat for southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba.   Highs will be In the low 20s, slightly warmer in southeastern Alberta and southern Manitoba.


As the Manitoba low moves to northwestern Ontario, the cold front starts moving south, spreading rain in a line across central Alberta from Jasper to Edmonton to Saskatoon to Gimli.   Southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan will remain dry, partly sunny, but cool.   Highs across the prairies will reach only the low 20s at best.


By midday, high pressure builds over Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and the rain in Manitoba tapers off as it moves southeast into Minnesota. In the afternoon, a Low develops in northern Montana, and showers or thundershowers will fire in the Alberta foothills. The thunderstorms will be fueled by heat, as temperatures are expect to rise to the mid to high 20s across southern Alberta.  Low 20s are expected elsewhere across the prairies. By midnight, rain overspreads central and southern Alberta.  Heavy rainfall is possible along the foothills, especially near Jasper, due the upslope effect of the Montana low, and the development of a new Low near Jasper.  These lows are connected by a trough, and that means rain for much of Alberta by the end of the day.


As the low in Jasper strengthens, and moves east of Edmonton by noon, expect bands of heavy rain north of Edmonton to Athabasca, and northeast to Grande Prairie. There is the potential for 30-50 mm of rain in this area, if the current forecast holds. In the rainy regions, it will be chilly, with temperatures west of Edmonton toward Jasper remaining in the single digits.  East of Edmonton, highs will reach only 10-15 degrees.  South of the low, it will again be dry in southern Alberta.  Along the warm front into Saskatchewan, light rain is expected throughout southern Saskatchewan.  Manitoba remains dry until late at night, when the rain in Saskatchewan intensifies and moves into southern Manitoba.  Temperatures across most of the southern prairies will peak in the high teens.


The Alberta low weakens and moves south, dragging the rain with it.  Southern Alberta will have a wet morning, except for the Medicine Hat area.  Rain also falls in southern Saskatchewan, with heavy rain in southern Manitoba. Rain in southern Alberta, southern SK and southern MB will continue all day, with 30 mm possible in southern Saskatchewan, lesser amounts elsewhere.  With the rain, it will be cool, with highs across the agricultural regions of the prairies reaching only 10-15 degrees.  Meantime, in the northern prairies, the return of sunshine will cause temperatures to rise to the mid to high 20s.

Saturday and Sunday:

By Saturday morning, high pressure builds over Saskatchewan, and the prairies will remain dry and mainly sunny throughout the weekend, with no significant weather threats.  Temperatures across the prairies will peak in the high 20s.

 COMPARE TO LAST WEEK’S REPORT: Prairie Weather this Week: June 17