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Dry conditions expected to continue in southern Manitoba

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Spring is almost upon us, and while the warm weather might be welcome news, Environment Canada says southern Manitoba is also experiencing a distinct lack of precipitation.

Senior climatologist David Phillips told 680 CJOB southern Manitoba is currently the driest place in the country — having received only around a quarter of the precipitation it usually would have seen since September.

“I’ve crunched numbers from September through to now, and precipitation is way down,” he said.

“There’s no replenishing of the soil moisture … it has been bone dry.

“I can’t find a place in southern or central Manitoba that has at least half of what they normally get in that period. It’s made for a non-flood season, but this is concerning.”

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There doesn’t seem to be much relief in the near future — the only rainfall in the seven-day Environment Canada forecast has a 60 per cent chance on Monday.

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But it’s not all bad news. Phillips said this part of the province doesn’t usually get massive amounts of moisture in those months anyway — and all it would take is a particularly heavy downpour to set things right.

Read more: Unseasonably warm Winnipeg weather sticking around: climatologist

Not to mention that it is Manitoba, after all, so fresh snow is still a distinct possibility, even as spring approaches — and March snowfalls are typically “one or two-day wonders” that provide a much-needed kick to soil moisture.

“Twenty per cent of your average annual snowfall occurs after March, so it’s not over,” said Phillips.

Despite the dry conditions, Phillips said people in the region can expect sunny conditions over the next week, and can enjoy the warm weather.

“What a difference a month makes,” he said.

“We were in the polar vortex a month ago, but now it’s really more American air, southerly air … and just wall-to-wall sunshine. I don’t see any threatening weather in the next week.”

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