#3 - From Dry to Drenched on the Prairies
Before the growing season started Western ranchers said they had never seen such a dry spring. In Camrose, Alberta a drought was declared before April and, across the Prairies, agricultural producers hoped and prayed for rain. A decade-long drought, however, had most convinced it would be another dry growing season. With minimal snow cover and record low precipitation between January and March, winter 2010 gave growers little optimism.
Above-normal temperatures in spring meant an early start to planting in southern and western growing areas, and in mid-April – almost miraculously – it started to rain. But when the precipitation refused to let up, drought worries became flood worries. By mid-May, farmers were begging for dry weather so they could at least get onto their fields. There was twice as much rain and snow as normal during April and May, making 2009 (the driest spring in 51 years) and 2010 (the wettest ever) complete opposites.
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Photo: Wingert © Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, 2010.
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