Wet weather puts Saskatchew­an in En­vi­ron­ment Canada’s top 10

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS -

Saskatchew­an’s un­prece­dented ex­treme weather pro­vided two of the top six items in En­vi­ron­ment Canada’s top 10 weather sto­ries for 2010.

Num­ber three on En­vi­ron­ment Canada’s list high­lights how the prairies went from dry to drenched. At the start of 2010 many agri­cul­tural pro­duc­ers were look­ing at an­other dry spring, and not look­ing for­ward to an­other dry year af­ter por­tions of the prairies had ex­pe­ri­enced drought con­di­tions over the past decade. In fact, the prairies ex­pe­ri­enced record low pre­cip­i­ta­tion be­tween Jan­uary and March.

In mid-April the rains started, and by mid-May the pre­cip­i­ta­tion hadn’t abated, slow­ing seed­ing op­er­a­tions for most and pre­vent­ing many from get­ting onto their fields at all.

Ac­cord­ing to En­vi­ron­ment Canada, there was twice as much rain and snow as nor­mal dur­ing April and May, mak­ing 2009 (the dri­est spring in 51 years) and 2010 (the wettest ever) com­plete op­po­sites.

Rains per­sisted into June, im­pact­ing nearly a quar­ter of prairie crops that were un­able to get into the fields or were de­stroyed af­ter be­ing un­der wa­ter. The Cana­dian Wheat Board es­ti­mated that be­tween three and five mil­lion hectares went un­seeded – the largest aban­doned hec­tarage in Western Canada since 1971.

Sum­mer brought no change, with wet weather lin­ger­ing and block­ing the ar­rival of hot, sunny weather.

The crit­i­cal har­vest months on the prairies were im­pacted by dou­ble the av­er­age rain­fall be­tween mid-Au­gust and mid-Septem­ber.

Pro­duc­ers fi­nally got a break on the first day of the fall sea­son when warm, dry and sunny con­di­tions set in and pre­vailed through Oc­to­ber.

Num­ber six on the list was Saskatchew­an’s sum­mer of storms, which re­sulted 100s of mil­lions of dam­age.

A steady stream of sum­mer storms swept across the prov­ince, caus­ing well over $100 mil­lion in prop­erty and auto in­surance claims. Crop hail claims topped the $100 mil­lion mark, four times what claims paid out in 2009.

“Be­tween June 14 and 18, a slow-mov­ing weather sys­tem dumped in ex­cess of 100 mil­lime­ters of rain over south­west­ern Saskatchea­n and Al­berta,” En­vi­ron­ment Canada’s re­port notes. “Maple Creek recorded in ex­cess of 100 mil­lime­ters; even more oc­curred at Cy­press Hills Park. Tor­rents of wa­ter rushed down the streets of Maple Creek wash­ing piles of de­bris and thick muck into homes, reach­ing lev­els as high as a kitchen counter. The tor­ren­tial rains washed out both west­bound lanes and one east bound lane of the Trans-Canada High­way just west of town. The high­way opened to four lanes more than five months later af­ter a $10 mil­lion re­pair. Res­i­dents said river lev­els were the high­est they’d seen in 50 years.”

Flood­ing also im­pacted York­ton, Prince Al­bert, and the Bat­tle­fords af­ter record rain­fall to­tals hit those com­mu­ni­ties.

More than 175 Saskatchew­an com­mu­ni­ties de­clared weather-re­lated states of emer­gency and nearly 40 ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties de­clared them­selves agri­cul­tural dis­as­ter ar­eas.

The full list of top 10 weather events can be viewed at www.ec.gc.ca.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.