Parts of southern Saskatchewan are experiencing some of the driest weather in Environment Canada’s 133-year record keeping history.
Regina saw its driest March on record, recording just 0.8 millimetres of precipitation. Saskatoon saw its driest April, with 0.4 mm.
Both cities are on a record pace for May. Surrounding communities are feeling the heat as well.
The dry weather has prompted an extreme fire risk throughout much of southern Saskatchewan. A large chunk of northern Saskatchewan is under a high fire risk, though as of Wednesday afternoon no provincial fire bans were in place.
“We’re urging extreme caution in the southern part of the province if you’re using fire for any purpose whatsoever,” Saskatchewan fire safety commissioner Duane McKay said. “Individually we are accountable. If we start a fire we are accountable. Socially, this is our responsibility. We have to protect ourselves.”
The dry weather also has Saskatchewan farmers looking to the skies.
“We seeded the crops into good moisture. They’re germinating. There’s good surface level moisture here,” said grain farmer Katelyn Duncan. “In a couple weeks if we don’t get some rain we might be a little panicked, but in the meantime, we’re just crossing our fingers.”
Duncan says that while continued dry weather won’t spell doom for farmers, it won’t be without consequence either.
“Things will grow. But if we have a hot, dry summer again you’ll see maybe maturity issues with the crop. We’ll certainly have good quality, not very much disease, but yield could be affected.”
While the province’s tree population is also feeling thirsty, the cold winter and current dry conditions are helping eliminate some tree pests in Regina.
“We’ve actually found that the cankerworm and tent caterpillar populations have basically crashed inside the city,” said Regina forestry, pest and horticulture manager Russell Eirich.
Eirich said the city’s cankerworm spraying program usually begins at the end of May but they won’t be implementing it this year. Regina’s mosquito numbers are low as well.
“Over the past week we only trapped two mosquitoes in all 12 of our traps,” said Eirich. “You just can’t get a better May for not having mosquitoes.”
The drop in mosquitoes has enabled the city of Regina to shift resources towards tree watering.