Soil moisture is up in the west, but not enough to shed drought status

Improvement of soil moisture conditions were not widespread as some would like it to be, but the good news is there was increased precipitation for much of Western Canada, according to the latest report via the Canadian Drought Monitor.

Looking at the latest report (see below), producers will see a big change in southern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta.

Last year at this time, southeastern Saskatchewan had exceptional and extreme drought conditions whereas this year, the monitor  shows moderate and abnormally dry conditions as of the end of November. However, much of central Saskatchewan continues under severe drought.

In Alberta, areas were downgraded from having extreme and severe drought conditions to still some spots of severe drought, many areas are listed as under mainly moderate and abnormally dry conditions. Despite the improvements, dugouts and other natural water sources will require normal snowfall and runoff to replenish the resource this winter. According to the report, livestock feed shortages also challenged producers in the region as a lingering impact of this summer’s drought.

There wasn’t enough precipitation in northern British Columbia to replenish the long-term deficits as of November, but the southern regions of the province continued to benefit from precipitation that helped alleviate drought conditions and recharge soil moisture and streamflow. Northern British Columbia remains under moderate to severe drought.

The maps show a comparison in the month of November for the amount of drought in Western Canada over a one year period. The darker the colour, the less moisture there is in the ground. (AAFC)

Looking at the map above, Manitoba had an increase of moderate drought conditions; however, there was a drop in areas that were normally dry.

Moving eastward, conditions in central Canada remained relatively unchanged at the time of the report, as increased precipitation brought some relief to southern Quebec, though not enough to change the long-term conditions.

The maps show a comparison in the month of November for the amount of drought in eastern Canada over a one year period. The darker the colour, the less moisture there is in the ground. (AAFC)

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