Current Drought Conditions
Drought conditions across Canada are assessed at the end of each month with results being published online about one week after the end of the month. Conditions from the latest assessment are shown on this page with an accompanying discussion, describing drought conditions in regions across Canada.
May 2017 Drought Conditions
British Columbia and Central Canada continued to receive significant precipitation with record accumulations since April 1st through many parts of Ontario and Quebec. The central prairie region continued to receive abnormally high precipitation throughout May. This led to further delays in seeding and increasing the concerns related to excess moisture. Large portions of the Canadian prairies, however, received very little rainfall and continued to dry out. Strong winds and warm temperatures later in the month increased evaporation and water loss. Despite good soil moisture and abundant rain last fall, lack of precipitation during the winter and early spring along with good drying conditions has resulted in abnormally dry conditions and poor soil moisture. Atlantic Canada received significant precipitation in May resulting in dramatic reductions in long term moisture deficits and the Abnormally Dry (D0) classification.
Conditions in British Columbia improved significantly throughout May. The province has experienced a wet spring, with some areas in the southern interior receiving record high rainfall since April 1. Areas in the central and northern part of the province have also received abnormally high spring rainfall and as a result, the large Abnormally Dry (D0) pocket encompassing the northern half of the province was reduced significantly. Data indicated lingering dryness in the northwest, thus the Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormally Dry (D0) pocket from the previous month’s assessment persisted. Conditions on Haida Gwaii improved this month, with dryness concerns being limited to a small D0 pocket on the northern half of the island.
Dryness continued to develop in the southern Prairies throughout May. Satellite-derived data and precipitation indices showed that areas of southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba have had a dry winter and spring. Despite abundant fall precipitation, inadequate soil moisture in the region resulted in the addition of a large Abnormally Dry (D0) pocket. A small Moderate Drought (D1) pocket developed between Regina and Weyburn in Saskatchewan due to extremely low precipitation since March. Southern Alberta received more rainfall than southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba; however a reduced D0 pocket in southeastern Alberta persisted. Conditions in northern Alberta and northwestern Saskatchewan continued to deteriorate as well, receiving less than 50 percent of the fourteen-year average since March. Thus, the Abnormally Dry pocket in this region was expanded and a Moderate Drought (D1) pocket developed south of Lake Athabasca.
A large area of the Central region has seen high to record high precipitation this spring. As a result, the Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions on the Ontario-Quebec border and in the Kingston area depicting long term drought concerns from last summer have improved to normal. Dryness in northeastern Quebec persisted, resulting in increased D0 conditions. Satellite-derived soil moisture data and short-term precipitation indices indicate dry conditions along the southern half of the Manitoba-Ontario border; thus, a large D0 pocket was added.
Drought conditions in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island have improved due to significant rainfall throughout the month of May. A small Abnormally Dry (D0) pocket remains in northeast Nova Scotia due to persistent precipitation deficits. Additionally, D0 conditions surround the Avalon Peninsula and eastern Newfoundland. The D0 pocket in Northern Labrador persisted due to continued precipitation deficits. However, it has extended further into Northern Quebec and has retreated from the coastal region.
Conditions in Northern Canada have remained relatively static over the past month. Precipitation deficits indicate Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions have improved in the southeast corner of Yukon, but have degraded past the Faro and Keno hill area. Additionally, a small D0 pocket was added west of Norman Wells due to short-term below average levels of precipitation within the area.
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