(Rural Roots Canada) – Fuller reservoirs, higher streamflows, standing water…all across the Prairies.  But is the drought over?

Prairie Weather
Courtesy: X

Dylan Biggs is right.  It will take more than a few weeks of wet weather to cancel out several years of drought.  The next report from the North American Drought Monitor will be out within the next couple of weeks, and we will get an indication then of just how much impact the spring rain has had on our drought situation.

An encouraging sign comes from the rebound in reservoir levels.  In Alberta. most are still below average,  with the exception of Glennifer.  Alberta reservoir levels as of May 30:

Prairie Weather
Data: Government of Alberta

The government of Saskatchewan reports that most major water supply reservoirs are at or near normal. And Manitoba Hydro reports water levels and flows are near normal across the province.

Regardless of the level of drought that remains, the moisture this spring has been welcome, and has allowed seeding to get off to a great start.

Germination levels are also healthy, due to the abundant moisture.  This chart shows highly successful germination of the Saskatchewan wheat crop:

Prairie Weather
Courtesy: Government of Saskatchewan

Across parts of the prairies, there are hopes for a switch in the weather pattern, and a return to sunny, dry weather, especially in areas where there is standing water.   Seeding operations are running behind schedule due to the rainy weather, with the exception of northwestern Alberta, in the Peace region, where seeding is running ahead of its normal pace.   A period of sunny, dry weather would allow farmers to catch up with their seeding schedules.

It would also enhance the chance of dangerous thunderstorms, especially if temperatures climb above 25 degrees.   Hot weather leads to instability, and the moisture on the ground, in the soil, and in the vegetation will act as fuel for afternoon thunderstorms, some of which could produce hail.    It’s a process called evapotranspiration.

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The overall weather outlook for the week across the prairies is indeed for warmer and drier weather.  Temperatures in southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan will be 4-6 degrees above average, and in Manitoba, 2-4 degrees above average for the week.  Rainfall will be below average this week, especially across the southern prairies.  But it won’t be completely dry.  A Low pressure system off the west coast will jump the Rockies, and reform in southcentral Alberta Monday afternoon, spreading some rain from central Alberta, into central Saskatchewan, and southwestern Manitoba.


A large Low pressure system off the west coast will spread widespread rain into BC.  East of the Rockies,  across the southern prairies, it remains dry, though the west coast Low will spawn a weaker Low in the foothills west of Edmonton.   This will send some moisture into a line from northwestern Alberta to central Saskatchewan.  As the low migrates southeastward during the day, the rain will expand across most of central Alberta and the foothills north of Banff.   There may be embedded heavy showers or thunderstorms Monday afternoon and evening.  Those storms are expected to move slowly, leading to the chance of localized heavy rain across central Alberta.  Light showers are possible late Monday night and Tuesday morning in southeastern Alberta

Temperatures in the rainy regions will peak at about 10-15 degrees.  Elsewhere across the agricultural regions of the prairies, highs should reach the low twenties.


The Alberta low moves to central Saskatchewan Tuesday.   Rain will wrap around the Low, which will stretch out through the day into an elongated surface trough from Lloydminster to SE Manitoba.  Rain associated with this will fall mainly north of the Yellowhead highway, though rain could fall lightly in southern Saskatchewan, west of Regina.  Southern Alberta and southwestern Manitoba should stay dry.

In the rain, temperatures will peak between 5 and 15 degrees across the northern prairies.  In southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, highs should reach the low 20s, but in southeastern Alberta, it could get as warm as the mid 20s.   As earlier mentioned, that heat, combined with all the moisture in the vegetation and soil, could produce some afternoon thunderstorms.


The area of low pressure nearly stalls in central Manitoba before creeping into northwestern Ontario near Red Lake by the end of the day.   The wrap around moisture tightens up in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, while the rest of the prairies, including most of the agricultural land, dries out.  Temperatures across the southern prairies could reach the low to mid twenties in the afternoons, with again the possibility of afternoon thundershowers in the warmer areas.


With the wet weather remaining to the north, and the low still moving very slowly, the agricultural land in the southern prairies remains dry.   Even though it’s June, we can’t rule out early morning snow in northern Saskatchewan, where temperatures will be near zero.  It will stay cold through the day in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Temperatures in the agricultural south reach the low 20s, again with the possibility of scattered afternoon thundershowers.


High pressure builds from the west coast to Saskatchewan, bringing more sunshine to the prairies.  Snow is again possible in the early morning in far northern Saskatchewan.  Elsewhere, in the dry weather,  Alberta, Saskatchewan, and southern Manitoba will enjoy highs in the mid 20s.

Saturday and Sunday:

The weekend will be sunny and dry, all across the prairies.   Sunday, a weak low pressure system, forms next to the foothills near Grande Prairie.  This will destabilize the atmosphere, leading to a good chance of showers and  thundershowers in the area.  On Saturday, temperatures in Alberta will reach 25-30 degrees, 20-25 in Saskatchewan, and in Manitoba it will be cooler.   Sunday is hotter.  Temperatures in many parts of Alberta could reach 30, with highs near 25 across Saskatchewan, and the low 20s in southern Manitoba.

COMPARE TO LAST WEEK: Prairie Weather This Week – May 27