Sunday, May 2nd 2021, 9:00 pm - Alberta will finally see some sorely needed rain this week, but it will be a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed to significantly improve worsening drought conditions on the Prairies.
The drought conditions that have plagued the Prairies for quite some time won't drastically improve anytime soon, even with a favourable May pattern that could bring some much-needed precipitation. However, there will be some needed rainfall coming to Alberta this week, but it will fall far short of what is needed to overcome a precipitation deficit. Manitoba and Saskatchewan will miss out on the incoming rain due to a ridge of high pressure in place. Details and timing, below.
TUESDAY: WELCOMED RAIN IN ALBERTA, BUT WON'T BE ENOUGH
Pacific moisture is finally making the trek across the Rockies, albeit very minimal amounts. A front will reach Alberta by Monday evening, which will cause moisture to build up along a boundary from Slave Lake to Medicine Hat in Alberta for Tuesday. The bulk of the energy will form a new system in Montana, which will then track southeast, taking the moisture with it.
This rainfall won't be enough to overcome the dry conditions that the region is experiencing, but every drop is certainly welcomed. Roughly 10 mm could fall in Alberta and totals of 10-15 mm could occur along the foothills.
Temperatures will be below seasonal on Tuesday and will remain that way through mid-week before warming up considerably in Alberta on Thursday for a short period of time.
MUCH OF THE PRAIRIES STUCK IN A DROUGHT
The Tuesday setup will prevent Saskatchewan and Manitoba from seeing any rainfall. Most of the Prairie region is in a significant drought.
For example, Saskatoon has only seen 5 mm of precipitation over the past two months. Swift Current has only seen 5.5 mm of precipitation in 2021, a mere nine per cent of its average.
"May to August is the rainy season, so fingers crossed they get the rain, but ideally not [through] severe storms," says Kevin MacKay, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
LOOK AHEAD: BRIEF WARMUP, POSSIBLE SIGNIFICANT SYSTEM COULD BRING MUCH-NEEDED RAIN TO ALBERTA
Forecasters are watching the potential for a large and significant system to develop east of the Rockies by late week or the weekend.
While there is still much uncertainty with the scenario this far out, it could bring some widespread and much-needed rain to parts of the region, primarily in Alberta. Unfortunately, the central and eastern Prairies are expected to stay very dry.
"The May pattern will be conducive to seeing much-needed rain, and possibly even some snow, across the region, but precipitation totals will not reverse the growing deficits across the region," says Dr. Doug Gillham, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, in the May outlook.
"This is concerning given the expectation that southern areas will see a hot and dry pattern during the summer months."
Be sure to check back for the latest updates on the Prairies forecast.