A United States National Weather Service Climate Prediction Centre prediction of an El Niño weather pattern this year gives hope to some Prairie farmers after a year with little or no moisture reserve in the soil.
The prediction suggests a 65 per cent chance of an El Niño prevailing during the 2019 growing season with a 50 per cent to 55 per cent chance it will continue into the fall season.
If the El Niño dominates weather, farmers in south-central, southwestern and central Saskatchewan can expect more rainfall during the spring and summer.
“The spring bias is to be wetter,” Drew Lerner of World Weather Inc. told MarketsFarm. “You will encounter that most likely in May.”
The El Niño pattern is expected to reduce rain in northwestern Alberta, particularly in the Peace River farming bloc.
Lerner hedges the El Niño impact by noting this one is weak and subject to reduced influence from other weather patterns.
“Because it’s a weak El Niño, and weakening, that opens the door for potential changes.”
Saskatchewan experienced a mild winter from El Niño until the deep freeze in February and early March.
El Niño forms when the Pacific Ocean surfaces are warmer than usual.
Ron Walter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org