With some southern Alberta farmers already in the fields seeding, many producers are still waiting ?— and for good reason ?— as the weather across the Prairies can, and has, turned on a dime.
The unpredictability that is spring weather is being demonstrated perfectly in Saskatchewan this week. The southwest portion of the province was the dumping grounds for approximately eight inches of snow accompanied by heavy winds that wrecked upwards of 300 power poles resulting in numerous power outages, according to SaskPower.
Meanwhile, just two hours north, west central Saskatchewan received much smaller amounts of precipitation, approximately 6.6 mm on Tuesday, April 5, with snow flying on Wednesday. All this wintry weather will give way to well above average temperatures, upwards of 20 degrees, by week’s end for both Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Alberta and Manitoba have reported much of the same weather, drizzling rain with some snowflakes thrown in some areas, just for good measure.
We caught up with Sara Hoffman, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, and she says this moisture will be short lived as we move into temperatures well above normal, before cooling down once again.
“We can expect well above normal temperatures, and mostly dry starting late Friday night into Saturday morning. A low pressure system will develop and will bring snow and some increase in winds to northern parts of the Prairies, like north of the Greenbelt and shouldn’t affect to too many farmers, perhaps those in central Alberta and in Peace country will be affected. But in southern areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan or Manitoba, all that will likely be seen is a bit of those hit or miss showers associated with a cold front.”
Hoffman says certain areas may see decent amounts of rain or snow depending on the temperature, but only in one to two hour stretches, nothing that is expected to last a day or more. Central and southern Alberta may see some flurries this weekend and into next week as the cold front moves through the region, but again, Hoffman says it’s not likely to account for much moisture all things considered.
Although the above is what is likely, Hoffman shares that predicting spring weather is no easy task.
“That’s just a function of how variable things can be with those colliding temperatures. So those warmer temperatures coming up from the south, but still those colder temperatures in the north remaining. And that leads to issues with our forecast models. So I would encourage everyone to be paying close attention to the forecast and not necessarily take long range forecasts as gospel.”
At any rate, it would appear that more and more producers in Alberta will be in the full swing of seeding in the coming weeks, followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba respectively.
Check out the full conversation, below: