Map: Prairie Drought Worsens in September




Drought and dryness further improved across much of Ontario and Quebec in September, but things continued to deteriorate in Western Canada.


According to the latest monthly update of the Canadian drought monitor, almost 35% of the Prairie region – including over 71% of agricultural lands - were abnormally dry or in some form of drought as of the end of September, up from 31% and 60% at the end of August. In contrast, abnormal dryness or drought was impacting just 26% of the central region and 29% of the agricultural lands as of the end of September, down from 35% and 36% the previous month.


Much of the Prairies has been trending drier since July. And while the lack of rain more recently has allowed for a speedy harvest, it continues to raise concerns about topsoil moisture availability in the spring if more precipitation does not arrive before winter freeze up.


Overall precipitation in the month of September was variable across the Prairies, with some northern areas receiving upwards of more than 150mm. However, parts of the agricultural region saw less than 5mm, leading to persisting or worsening drought across southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.


An area extending southward from the foothills of Alberta towards Crowsnest Pass experienced further dryness, resulting in the expansion of moderate drought as well the development of severe drought. Central Alberta also received little precipitation in September, but pre-existing moisture meant that only abnormally dry conditions expanded in the region, from Grand Prairie towards Cold Lake.


As for Saskatchewan, the southwestern portion of the province saw up to 50mm of precipitation in September which helped alleviate dryness previously reported in August. But in the area south of Regina, less than 5mm of rain fell in September and only 10mm was received in August, leading to the development of a severe drought pocket. “Low root zone soil moisture was also reported across much of southeastern Saskatchewan given limited moisture throughout the growing season,” the monitor said.


Precipitation in southern Manitoba was reported near normal in September, but dryness and drought remained relatively unchanged from a month earlier. In areas around Winkler and west of Brandon, just 40% to 60% of normal precipitation fell in August and September, while areas near Dauphin remain unusually dry as well.


Meanwhile, September rainfall in southern Ontario and Quebec was minimal but significant precipitation in July and August helped to limit dryness concerns. Indeed, all pockets of moderate drought from London to Cornwall have now been removed.


Farther east, significant moisture deficits from the month of August improved slightly in September although drought remains in place throughout New Brunswick and P.E.I. Severe drought is persisting across much of New Brunswick, as 50% below-normal precipitation has been received in the last two months and 25-50% below-normal precipitation in the last three months.


September drought monitor​​​​​​​

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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