Beneficial rain for dry, fire prone areas in northern Ont.
Saturday, May 19, 2018, 12:32 PM - This week, a high-to-extreme fire risk was in place due to dry conditions across northwestern Ontario, forcing a widespread fire ban ahead of the long weekend. Some heavy and beneficial rain continues to move into the region, which has temporarily reduced the fire risk, but the rain may be too much, too soon. More on that below.
- Rain spreads across the region through Saturday with some heavier bursts for areas like Kenora and Dryden
- Cooler temperatures for showery Saturday before drying out by holiday Monday
- Warmer weather spreads back into the region next week, but a significant contrast in temperatures from west to east
WIDESPREAD FIRE BANS
Earlier this week, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) put a "restricted fire zone in place" for most of northwestern Ontario, which prevents any permits to open burning such as campfires and the burning of debris or brush.
"This is coming as a result of escalating potential for human-caused fires," Chris Marchand, a fire information officer with the MNRF told CBC News. "We're entering one of the busiest recreational periods of the spring at a time of high and extreme forest fire hazards."
As fire crews look to the skies for some relief in dry areas, beneficial rain is spreading across the region through Saturday.
"The heaviest rain will fall in the Kenora and Dryden areas with big variations in rainfall amounts," says Weather Network meteorologist Erin Wenckstern. "This will come in a few waves of heavier rain at times with the threat for some thunderstorms."
According to Dr. Doug Gillham, another meteorologist at The Weather Network, some high resolution computer models have rather impressive rainfall totals especially for southeastern Manitoba and into Ontario.
"There's the potential for some areas to see over 50 mm of rain with locally higher amounts possible as one model actually has close to 100 mm in the Kenora area," Gillham adds.
Temperatures cool across the northwest on Saturday before conditions improve and dry out through Sunday and Monday.
"Much warmer weather spreading into western areas for Victoria Day, but cooler east," says Gillham. "Warmer weather spreads into the region next week, but a significant west to east contrast in temperatures - eastern areas will feel the effects of the colder air over Hudson Bay that spreads into Quebec, while western areas become very warm."