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Variable Precipitation Patterns Across Alberta

14 August 2013
Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

CANADA - During the first week in August, precipitation patterns across the agricultural areas of Alberta have been highly variable.

Between August 1 and 7, 2013, large precipitation accumulations have being recorded in the mountains just north of Waterton Lakes National Park. In that area, the Spionkop Creek station has reported over 148 mm of precipitation in this seven-day period, with over 90 mm falling on August 2.
“Over the past several days, many parts of Alberta have seen varying amounts of precipitation, ranging from upwards of 120 mm across the mountains in the extreme southwest, to well over 20 mm through parts of southern Alberta, east central Alberta and western-half of the Peace Region,” says Ralph Wright, head, soil moisture unit with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

“However, longer term, generally dry conditions are prevailing through the northern parts of the Peace Region and west of the city of Edmonton, centered on the western half of Parkland County.”

Many areas north of Ponoka have soil moisture reserves ranging from 1-in-3-year lows to 1-in-25-year lows. The same is true for much of the extreme northern Peace Region. South of Red Deer soil moisture reserves are generally near normal or above, with the exception of a large part of Vulcan County were reserves are estimated to be at 1-in-6 to 1-in-12 year lows.

“While some areas are reporting overall lower precipitation, the timing and amount of precipitation over the past few months has generally been adequate to sustain good crop growth across most areas,” says Wright. “Fortunately, for seeded crops, moisture requirements are tapering off as crops begin to ripen. Over the coming weeks, near normal rainfall accumulations should be more than adequate to insure that there is little risk of moisture stress going into late summer.”

Maps corresponding to this moisture update can be found on the Moisture Situation Update webpage.

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