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Moisture Update - May 29, 2024


Map 1: In the last 9-days since May 20, rainfall has been variable (Map 1), ranging from over 50 mm across the North Central Boreal Forests, concentrated in the Birch Hills area, to less than 1 mm through parts of the Peace and North East Regions. 

As of May 30, the Piccadilly Auto Station received 136 mm (unverified), followed by the Enda Auto Station with 129 mm (unverified), both located in the Birch Hills area. Other areas that received good moisture in recent days, included much of the eastern Peace Region, at >40 mm, and many lands across the southern Peace Region, at over 20 mm. This large band of moisture extended south all the way to the US border, but was generally confined to the mountains and foothills, with totals ranging from 20 to 50 mm. Elsewhere most of the moisture was relatively hit and miss, driven by bands of thunderstorms that moved across the province. In contrast, much of the North East remained dry, allowing seeding to progress following the previously generous rains. Unfortunately, some areas of the Peace Region and extreme northern portions of the province, remained very dry following several months of well below normal precipitation.

Soil Moisture Reserves

Map 4: Soil moisture reserves are recovering across most of the province, with large parts of the Southern Region and parts of the Special Areas now trending to above normal for this time of year (Map 4). Below normal reserves are still persisting through some of the western sections of the Central and North West Regions, along with isolated pockets in the North East Region. Significantly, large parts of the Peace Region are still well below normal for this time of year, with a pocket of once in 50-year lows still holding out in Saddle Hills County, located northwest of Grande Prairie.


Map 5: So far, 2024 has marked a dramatic turnaround in drought conditions across most of the province. In addition, the wet season still lies ahead of us and there is ample opportunity to receive further moisture if the current weather patterns hold. Across the Peace Region, the wet season typically gets underway in the latter half of May and peaks throughout June and July (Map 5). In recent days, we have seen moisture start to build across parts of the Peace Region, and hopefully this is a good sign that wetter, more normal weather patterns are on their way.

With persistent rains across the south and a relatively wet land surface, the potential for large damaging thunderstorms has increased, particularly if it turns hot and humid in the coming days and weeks.

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