Ready, set go! Harvest reprieve hits Prairies

CNS Canada — Prairie farmers struggling to get crops off fields under wet, cold conditions are about to get a reprieve — if they haven’t seen warmer weather already in their area.

Natalie Hasell, a weather preparedness meteorologist for Environment Canada in Winnipeg, said most regions of British Columbia, Alberta, and southern and central Saskatchewan are in the warm weather already, as of Wednesday. Southern Manitoba residents will be able to bask in similar unseasonably warm temperatures Thursday.

“We’ve got a good stretch of dry, sunny weather,” she said.

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A thermal ridge is bringing welcome relief, after four weeks of cold, wet weather prevented many farmers from getting crops off fields.

Temperatures should continue at seasonal levels or above for the next seven days across most regions of the Prairies, Hasell said.

The harvest problems are particularly acute in central and northern areas of the grain belt and farmers in those regions should see harvest windows appear.

“This will be an opportunity for farmers who are delayed … they will be able to do that over the next seven days,” Hasell said.

After that, the weather returns to seasonal, except in northern areas of western Alberta and B.C., which will continue to enjoy warmer weather later into next week.

She cautioned the 14-day forecast is a long time off, so the situation may yet change, but the prospects currently look good.

The Saskatoon area, for example, is currently experiencing above-normal temperatures, and will see temperatures slide back to normal later his week.

“But we see a return to warmer than that very quickly. Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. By the time we get to Monday next week, we’re back to 15 C; Tuesday is 15 C in the current forecast.

“It’s a good time for those who were delayed and a good time to get ready for what’s coming next,” she said.

Northern Manitoba and far northeastern Saskatchewan residents may find themselves left out in the cold, however, as they remain on the cold side of the front.

Across the Prairies, Environment Canada forecasts unseasonable warmth for many areas.

Calgary temperatures are projected to fall into the low teens over the weekend, but then rise to 21 C by Tuesday.

Edmonton forecasts show temperatures in the mid-teens for the weekend and through to the following Tuesday.

In Alberta’s Peace region, Grande Prairie is expected to reach highs of 10 C to 12 C during the weekend, reaching highs of 13 C by Tuesday.

In Saskatchewan, Regina-area residents can expect similar temperatures to those outlined for Saskatoon, reaching 16 C on Tuesday.

Even the northeastern part of the province, where residents may see temperatures fall back down to 6 C by Saturday, should see a return to temperatures of about 14 C by Tuesday.

In Manitoba, Brandon-area residents will likely see mid-week warm temperatures decline to about 6 C by Saturday, but rebound to highs of about 11 C by Tuesday.

South of Winnipeg, at Morris, temperatures are expected to reach 19 C by Thursday, fall to 6 C by Saturday and climb to 9 C by Tuesday.

In Dauphin, this week’s unseasonable warmth will likely be replaced by cooler temperatures of about 4 C on Saturday, with warmer air returning next week, as temperatures of about 12 C are expected for Tuesday.

— Terry Fries writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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