March through to May – A dry spring

90-Day Precipitation Accumulations Relative to Long Term Normal map

“February and most of March 2019 were unseasonably cold,” explains Wright. “However, a warming trend in late March generally led to a timely retreat of winter snows. By the end of May, large parts of the east half of the province and the north half of the Peace Region had seen conditions this dry less than once in 25 years, looking backing over the past 90 days.”

June and July

60-Day Precipitation Accumulations Relative to Long Term Normal map

Wright says that as June rolled around, dry conditions abruptly gave way to a long spell of cool and wet weather that persisted through to the end of July.

“This affected a large area of the province roughly lying north of Calgary and south of Manning. Within this zone, the wettest areas were concentrated across most of the northwest and northeast, with some areas experiencing conditions this wet, less than once in 25 years. Similarly, parts of the north central Peace Region experienced unusually wet conditions with a small area centred on Manning estimated to be this wet, on average less than once in 50 years.”

“In contrast, dry conditions persisted throughout much of southern Alberta and the extreme northern Peace Region. Some parts of southern Alberta experienced less than one-in-50 year lows between April 1 and July 31 period. Parts of the extreme northern Peace Region saw one in 12 to 25 year lows.”

Cold growing season leads to crop growth delays

Growing Degree Days Using Base of 2C Progress Relative to Normal map

By August 31, cool conditions during the growing season resulted in significant delays to crop growth. Some areas between Lac La Biche and Drumheller saw the growing season delayed by nearly 2 weeks.

Cool and wet fall

15-Day Average Daily Mean Temperature Relative to Long Term Normal map

Wright says that for the most part, temperatures and precipitation accumulations during the first 3 weeks of September were near normal.

That changed on September 27. “Extreme cold settled in over the province which persisted until mid-October. During that time, precipitation was near to slightly above normal, but it came frequently and at times in the form of snow. It made it difficult to dry unharvested crops.”

Winter arrives on schedule

Snow Pack Water Equivalent in Stubble Fields map

“By the end of October, winter arrived right on schedule with most areas experiencing persistent snows by the end of the first week of November,” he adds.

Contact

For more information, contact Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s media line:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-1005
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)