Many Saskatchewan farmers woke to a blanket of snow covering their fields this morning.
Unseasonably cold soil and atmospheric temperatures combined with precipitation are expected to continue to curtail seeding efforts for the next week for most of Saskatchewan and Manitoba say environmental meteorologists.
“It’s definitely going to be awhile, at least a week before we can get serious about any kind of warming and even then it doesn’t look like it will be necessarily sustainable,” said Drew Lerner of World Weather Inc.
“The month of May is probably still going to be colder than normal.”
A broad swath of heavy wet snow in Saskatchewan, which turned to rain as the day progressed in some areas, starts around the Battlefords and works its way east and south through central Saskatchewan to the international border. Total accumulation is expected to be four and 10 centimetres.
The snow doesn’t surprise Natalie Hasell of Environment Canada in Winnipeg.
“The large area of rain that we had over a lot of Saskatchewan yesterday turned to snow for most places during the overnight period and we’re still at temperatures that are quite cool,” said the meteorologist.
Hasell said Saskatchewan residents should expect snow or rain during the next two days with Wednesday and Thursday’s possibly providing a reprieve with temperatures of 13 C expected.
Hasell and Lerner said another colder than normal system would pass through areas south and central later in the week.
Similar below normal conditions and forecast also prevail in Manitoba, depending on location.
“Certainly southern and central Manitoba are very wet right now,” said Hasell.
“Overall, temperatures are below normal continuing and a few really wet days.”
Hasell said its overnight freezing temperatures that are dragging down the average daytime highs.
“We’re still in this almost freeze-thaw cycle,” she said.
“We don’t normally see temperatures below zero overnight at this time of year.”
Although surface temperatures have improved, she said the frost layer in the soil is very deep and could last until June in some areas.
“We certainly do have frost crystals 1.5 metres down or two metres down.”
One positive she said is that steady rains will help melt the ice crystals.
Although on the other side other side of the Prairie weather front, parts of Alberta have not escaped precipitation, particularly, southern Alberta in the foothills.
Overall, conditions are expected to be wet with westerly winds for the next few days but returning to seasonal temperatures for the rest of the week.
Lerner said spring is shaping up to be a late one which could push back seeding dates.
“This isn’t as bad as it was a year ago but it could get that way because the pattern looks fairly moist for awhile,” he said.
“I think once this second surge of cold pushes through the region it will warm up probably a little bit better but it’s probably going to be later in the first week of May.”