A high pressure ridge centred over western Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta will likely have a major influence on weather during the upcoming growing season in Western Canada, says the senior meteorologist with World Weather Inc.
The impact from this wide ridge of high pressure will vary, depending whether you’re in front, underneath or behind it, explains Drew Lerner in the above video, filmed following his presentation at CropConnect in Winnipeg last week.
While he expects precipitation in spring to be near or above normal for much of the prairies, variability will increase through summer, with progressively drier conditions in western Saskatchewan, as well as southeast Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba.
“On the front side (in southern Manitoba and southeast Saskatchewan) there will be a tendency for less than normal precipitation. Underneath the ridge, it will probably be pretty warm and dry — that would include eastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan,” he explains. “And then further west, behind the ridge, there will be an opportunity for late season rainfall, which will impact a large part of Alberta.”
Along with high pressure comes an elevated risk of localized thunderstorms and hail in western Saskatchewan, but Lerner doesn’t expect widespread extreme weather events: “We’re going to be looking at a northwest flow pattern, so there won’t be a lot of storms that come into the prairies from the southwest. That’s what has really driven a lot of these wet years that we’ve had over the last few years…this flow pattern we’re going into is going to be pretty much the opposite of that.”
He notes the dry region in the southeast corner of the prairies will likely extend into the Northern U.S. Plains, with a small chance of this dry pattern reaching down into the Western Corn Belt.
Watch the video with Drew Lerner at the top of this story.