Different multi-year precipitation maps telling a similar story for the Prairies

Precipitation levels are on an upswing across most of the Prairie region. Even without counting the rain the past couple days, precipitation maps are showing an improvement in the dry conditions that have hurt crop and forage yields in many regions in recent years.

For the past five years, total precipitation has been only 60 to 85 per cent of normal over most of the Prairie region, with some northern grain belt areas and some parts of southeastern Saskatchewan and into Manitoba at 85 to 115 per cent, which is basically normal.

The four-year rolling average map shows much the same percentages in mostly the same locations.

When you go to three years, more of the area around Regina and into the southeast moves into the normal category, but more northern areas come out as below normal.

In the two-year map, the normal precipitation category moves further north from Regina, with not a lot of change elsewhere.

When you look at precipitation for the past year, the yellow colour indicating 60 to 85 per cent of normal still dominates, although there’s a band across the center of Saskatchewan that’s in the normal category. The one-year map also shows a couple pockets of only 40 to 60 per cent of normal precip along the eastern edge of Alberta.

As you examine precipitation over the past six months, the picture is considerably different. Parts of southeast and east central Saskatchewan are at 60 to 85 percent, but most of the province is in the normal range for precipitation with a significant portion of west central Saskatchewan at 115 to 150 per cent of normal.

The last 30 days have been wet. The data only goes up to May 6 so it doesn’t include the most recent rain. However, only a very small pocket southeast of Regina is showing below normal precipitation over the past 30 days. Most of the province has had more than 150 per cent of normal precipitation with a sizable area at over 200 per cent. Again, this is for the 30 days ending May 6.

It’s probably too early to declare the long-standing moisture deficit as being over, but precipitation levels have certainly been trending upwards in recent times.

The maps of agroclimate conditions can be found of the Government of Canada website.

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