Winnipeg recording another exceptionally dry spring, meteorologist says

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg enters another of the driest springs on record'
Winnipeg enters another of the driest springs on record
According to meteorologist Jay Anderson, Winnipeg has set records for some of the driest conditions in three of the last five years. Global's Joe Scarpelli looks into what it all means – May 11, 2020

Aside from being cool, this year’s spring has also been one of the driest on record in Winnipeg so far, and you don’t have to look very far back to find the years that saw even less precipitation, one meteorologist says.

The amount of precipitation that fell in Winnipeg between Jan. 1 and May 7 is the third lowest ever recorded in that time period, according to meteorologist Jay Anderson.

“The lowest amount was two years ago and the second-lowest amount was four years ago,” Anderson said. “In the last five years, we’ve had the three driest springs ever in Winnipeg history.”

Anderson said the last decade as a whole has been exceptionally dry.

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“It’s mostly flown under the radar for most people,” he said.

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“Farmers know it, but we just happen to get a lucky thunderstorm in the summer that seems to make the stress a little less and we get by with it.”

While some wonder if the lack of precipitation is a reflection of climate change, Anderson said it’s difficult to make that connection because even though parts of North America are seeing similar dry spells, many other areas are still experiencing wet springs.

“Climatologists will tell you we have had long spells of very dry weather, and it’s possible we’re into one of these decadal things.”

Low amounts of precipitation also mean a low mosquito count, but entomologist Taz Stuart said that doesn’t mean Winnipeg will be mosquito-free come summer.

“I only look at two-week windows,” Stuart said.

“Right now, you’re looking at extremely low numbers, and any mosquitoes that are present … survived the winter in a garage or an attic and now they’re flying out looking for that blood meal.”

However, Stuart said it’s still important to protect yourself by wearing light-coloured clothing, long sleeves and bug spray, as there are other bugs still out there.


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