Map: May Rainfall Helps but Fails to Fix Prairie Drought

The month of May brought drought relief to portions of Western Canada, but conditions continued to deteriorate in others, according to the latest monthly update of the Canadian drought monitor.

A significant precipitation event May 20-24 boosted topsoil moisture conditions although the amounts were generally insufficient to completely fix long-term deficits. However, short-term improvements were noted in areas such as northwestern Saskatchewan where a large pocket of severe drought was removed. Other gains were seen in central Alberta and east along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border with an area of moderate and severe drought diminished.

Additionally, a pocket of moderate drought in the southeastern corner of Saskatchewan significantly improved. Meanwhile, conditions along the western Saskatchewan-US border remained much the same, except for a swath south of Regina, which saw the removal of extreme drought given the recent precipitation.

On the other hand, a pocket of extreme drought emerged surrounding Swift Current, which recorded the second driest May in over 100 years, the monitor said. In the central region of Saskatchewan, two moderate drought pockets were combined. Further north, moderate drought was expanded to include the Prince Albert region.

In Manitoba, drought mostly worsened in May. Severe drought expanded north towards the Interlake region from the US-Manitoba border, while the continued lack of moisture also led to two exceptional drought pockets forming in the southwest corner of the province.

An estimated 92% of the Prairie agricultural landscape was considered to be abnormally dry or in some form of drought as of the end of May, little changed from 93% at the end of April. Manitoba conditions are the worst, with nearly all of the province’s agricultural lands impacted by abnormal dryness or drought, followed by 96% for Saskatchewan and 85% for Alberta.

Meanwhile, much of Ontario was shortchanged on May precipitation.

Conditions continued to degrade along the southern borders of Ontario and Quebec, leading to the expansion of moderate drought. A pocket of severe drought was also extended from the Chatham-Kent area north along the edge of Lake Huron to beyond Goderich.

May drought monitor

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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