Moisture Situation as of July 25, 2018

  From the August 7, 2018 Issue of Agri-News
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 Ralph Wright, manager of the agro-meteorological applications and modelling section with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) analyzes the data.


“Last week a large rainfall event brought upwards of 100 mm to much of the south half of the Peace region,” says Wright (see map 1).

“The storm started on July 19, with more than 125 mm recorded at Beaver Lodge and Grande Cache. It followed another significant rain event that started on July 1. Together, these two storms brought upwards of 150 mm to many parts of the extreme southern Peace region (see map 2).”

“The greatest amount - 238.7 mm - was reported at the Grande Cache Auto station. That is almost half of the annual average, or 580 mm, falling in less than one month. As well, many lands through the eastern half of the northeast region, and across much of the northwest region, have seen ample moisture with upwards of 80 to 100 mm of rainfall recorded since the start of July.”

Wright adds that in sharp contrast, southern Alberta has been experiencing moisture deficits, with parts of the extreme south-eastern portions receiving less than 10 mm since the start of July (see map 2). “While most of southern Alberta typically experiences dry conditions at this time of year - starting the beginning of July - some areas are still shy of the 30 to 40 mm that is considered average for this month (see map 3). Moisture shortages at this time of year are not desirable, particularly since plant moisture demand is near its peak and seasonal temperatures reach maximum values.”

“Southern Alberta’s immediate need for moisture stems from ongoing dryer than normal conditions that appeared on or about June 15 of 2017,” says Wright. “Many areas are experiencing year over year moisture deficits seen on average, less than once in 25 years (see map 4). However, over the past week, several lands have seen 10 to 20 mm of rain and cooler temperatures. It has helped reduce acute moisture stress for those fortunate enough to be in the path of fast moving thunderstorms.”

Province wide, most areas south of Red Deer are currently in need of moisture stemming at least partially from longer term deficits (see map 4) and depleted soil moisture reserves. Says Wright. “However, local conditions may be highly variable, and in some cases, so-called mile to mile. Rainfall patterns have been primarily dominated by thunderstorm activity which is bringing spotty rain showers.”

“Across the northern tip of the Peace region, conditions are also relatively dry, with some areas south of Fort Vermillion, receiving less than 30 mm of rain in recent weeks (see map 1).” However, unlike southern Alberta, July tends to be the wettest month of the year here. Averages range from 80 to 100 mm, and August averages only drop modestly to about 50 to 70 mm. This far north, a marked drying trend in the meteorological record typically does not occur until September.”

Find more information at weatherdata.ca, Agricultural Moisture Situation Updates, or contact Ralph Wright, manager of the agro-meteorological applications and modelling section at 780-446-6831.

Ralph Wright

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Ralph Wright.
This document is maintained by Christine Chomiak.
This information published to the web on July 23, 2018.