© 2019 Terry Swails

THE FLAKES ARE FLYING....

September 18, 2018

Summer is down to its last few days but don't tell that to the fine folks in Edmonton, Canada. As far as their concerned fall has already come and gone and the hounds of winter are on the loose. Get this, with 14 days left in the month Edmonton (Alberta Province) has already had its snowiest September on record. 22cm (roughly 9" ) of white gold.

Even more impressive is the fact that it's snowed 6 consecutive days (Sept. 12-17th).

Sunday was the snowiest day with about 3" of accumulation.

The snow is giving farmers fits with the harvest season just getting underway. Here's an article from CTV in Edmonton on the impact of the early season snow.

 

A week of rain and snow has fallen heavy on Alberta fields, and on the shoulders of farmers who are waiting to harvest.

 

Michael Buck is one part of the family-run Young Buck Farms west of Edmonton, near Peers. The family’s operation is a mix of 1,500 acres of wheat, barley, peas and canola, and 700 sheep.

 

Buck would like to be combining those 1,500 acres, but there’s snow sitting on his crops.

“We would normally have our canola swathed by now, our peas would be harvested, and we've done no canola swathing essentially. The peas are still in the field and we're not combining any wheat,” said the farmer. “This is the longest period of poor weather in September we’ve seen in the last four years.”

 

First, a late spring meant a late seeding. Then, Buck thinks the crops were stunted as a byproduct of the B.C. wildfires.“(The smoke) blocked out the direct sun and it seemed that the crops kind of stalled as far as maturing went.”

 

Now, harvest is paused until the poor weather clears out and the fields dry up.

 

“With how wet it is right now we would need, I would estimate, a week of good weather before we could even entertain getting into the field and trying to do some harvesting.”

 

Edmonton has seen snow in September the last three years—the earliest on September 4, 2016.

 

Rain or snow can flatten crops, and make them harder to swath and combine. There’s also a chance the quality of the grain will be impacted, leaving farmers with a less valuable product. If the wet conditions continue, Buck said there’s a possibility his grain could be downgraded for animal consumption.

 

But the weather’s cost isn’t only financial. “When you can't recoup anything from those crops you still paid those expenses, and there are other bills to be paid. It puts a financial and mental strain on things,” said Buck. “This is my paycheque. This is what I use to feed my kids, to buy groceries, to feed the animals, for equipment and things. It wears on a person. You try to stay positive but day after day, it takes its toll.”

 

Farmers throughout Alberta are in a similar position. Snow fell near Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Sturgeon County north of Edmonton, and in southern parts of the province last week. Standing amidst 120 acres of unharvested wheat, Buck said, “This is a concern for farmers all across the province.”

 

Around here the weather continues dry and mild. In Cedar Rapids we hit 91 Monday. That was the first 90 degree high since July 13th, 66 days ago.

After a wet start to September, Monday was also the 12th consecutive day with no measurable rainfall. The last time that happened was back in April.

Now that the remains of Florence are on the way out, the weather pattern can begin to move. That will finally bring us rain chances as soon as Tuesday and much cooler conditions by the end of the week.

 

With regards to rain, the general model consensus is for a front to meander around the central Midwest through Thursday. It will be the focus for showers and thunderstorms, some with the potential for healthy rains. The Weather Prediction Center has this for 7 day rainfall. That will settle the dust.

Temperatures will continue above normal until a strong cold front passes to the southeast late Thursday. Behind it, highs will go from 85-90 Thursday to 65-70 Friday. The fall-like conditions more typical of this time of year will last through the weekend. Roll weather...TS

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