Don’t be fooled, the light showers over the past few days will do very little to mitigate the chronic dryness across southeastern Manitoba.
Some are referring to it as a drought. According to local meteorologist Scott Kehler, nine of the past ten growing seasons have been dryer than usual and this year looks like more of the same. While changing weather patterns may suggest that an increasingly parched climate is the new norm to stay, Kehler says even among the recent dry years this one is an anomaly.
Since January 1st, we’ve seen only about 17 millimetres of total precipitation which is only 24 per cent of normal,” states Kehler. “In a normal year, by this time, we would have seen about 70 millimetres.”
As farmers start making their seasonal plans, many are concerned about the ramifications the low amount of rainfall may have.
“We have had all of these dry years stacking up on top of each other and that means a lot of the soil moisture has been depleted already and there is not much left to start this year.”
He says some flurries expected next week may offer some solace, but not a lot.
“There is a potential for a spring snowstorm that could bring anywhere from 10 to 20 centimetres of snow across the province,” he notes. “people aren’t usually too enthusiastic about snow at this time of year but, for farmers, any moisture would be welcome right now.”
Aside from some that dusting, Kehler says the long-range forecast does not give producers a lot of reason to hope.