Southwest had lots of soil moisture before winter freeze-up
he Water Security Agency is highlighting high subsoil moisture levels in southern Saskatchewan could contribute to a higher risk of flooding in the spring of 2015.
The Water Security Agency's 2014 Fall Conditions Report, based on conditions as of Nov. 6, notes that larger wetland areas remain near full and many creeks are running at near or record levels for this time of year. Most areas of the province received 150 to 200 per cent above the normal amount of precipitation on what was an already saturated landscape.
"Record rainfall was received across much of southern Saskatchewan
Tduring the first half of the 2014 growing season," the report states. "While much of the province has experienced near normal precipitation over the past two months, which has lowered topsoil moisture conditions, much of the subsoil across the grain belt is thought to remain near fully charged. This will reduce infiltration capacities in the spring of 2015."
The report notes that many portions of Saskatchewan are as wet, or wetter, than in the fall of 2010.
"Consequently, even a near normal snowpack could result in above normal runoff and flooding during 2015 spring runoff. Most indices at this time are, however, pointing towards a near normal snowpack this winter. While it is much too early to say with any certainty that flooding will occur in 2015, much of the grain belt, particularly along the eastern side of the province and in the southwest are at a heightened risk."
A precipitation summary for the province notes an area south of Highway 13 and west of Gravelbourg, received
150 to 200 per cent of average annual precipitation during the 2014 growing season. There was also an area near Val Marie that also recorded record precipitation from April 1 to Oct. 31.
All eyes will be on winter snowfall totals this winter, as a higher snowpack in certain areas would increase the risk of flooding in certain areas. Their report concedes that a series of winter precipitation forecasts are calling for normal snowfall totals over the next three months, however an Environment Canada model is predicting above normal precipitation from December to February.
The Water Security Agency will continue to monitor conditions through the winter of 2014/15. Beginning in February they will be releasing the first of their 2015 Spring Runoff Outlook reports.
The full Fall Conditions report is available at https://www.wsask.ca/