The lack of rain over the past 3 weeks along with increasing temperatures, low humidity and abundant sunshine is creating very dry surface conditions over the Red River valley and southern MB, with an increasing occurrence of grass fires in recent days. Yesterday there were several fires around Winnipeg, especially along Hwy 75 just south of the city between St Adolphe and St Norbert which created large smoke plumes that drifted across the highway. After about 10 mm of rain and wet snow that fell in Winnipeg on April 1st, precipitation has been virtually non-existent since then, with only about 1 mm or so in the past 25 days. This has heightened the concern of another dry growing season developing in southern MB, coming off one of the driest summers on record last year. Last year, moist soil conditions at the beginning of the growing season tempered the effects of a dry growing season and minimized the impact on crops. If similar dryness occurs this year however, the effects on agriculture will be much more serious since soil moisture levels are starting off so dry this year compared to 2006.
And it appears that the dry conditions will continue for the next several days at least. There's a chance of some showers overnight into Friday morning, but amounts are not expected to be significant (far from the "relief" that the local paper was suggesting) After that, it looks warm and dry through the weekend before the next chance of rain early next week. There are some signs in the long range models of a possible change to more unsettled conditions developing over southern MB for the beginning of May (which makes sense given that the kids soccer season is starting!) , but at this point, relief from the dry weather is still a ways away.