2017 driest year on record for some Sask. communities

2017 precipitation numbers are in, and Regina's numbers were the second-driest on record, with other Saskatchewan communities seeing record-low levels of precipitation.

Driest year ever for Assiniboia, Moose Jaw; Regina saw 2nd-driest year, with only 40% of normal precipitation

A recurrent blocking pattern in the atmosphere was to blame for the lack of rain in Saskatchewan this summer, which left crops in much of the province parched. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

The final tally is in, and 2017 will take its place in the history books as the driest year on record in the southern Saskatchewan communities of Moose Jaw and Assiniboia.

Those numbers may not come as a total shock after the intense drought in southern Saskatchewan this summer and fall, but some areas in the province racked up less than half the precipitation they would normally see in a calendar year.

In Assiniboia, only 181.6 millimetres of precipitation fell in 2017. That's just 46 per cent of the usual yearly rain and snow for the town, 135 kilometres southwest of Regina.

In Moose Jaw, about 90 kilometres north of Assiniboia, the weather station recorded 214.8 millimetres of precipitation. According to climate averages, the area normally sees 365.3 millimetres in 12 months.

Southern and central Saskatchewan saw extremely dry weather in 2017. (Christy Climenhaga/CBC)

Regina, Saskatoon dry too

The major Saskatchewan cities did not escape the dry weather either this past year. 

Regina saw its second-driest year ever, with only 154.2 millimetres of precipitation, far short of its usual 389.7 millimetres. It also saw its driest July in 130 years.

Saskatoon saw 243.6 millimetres of precipitation, making it the fifth-driest year on record for the city.

A recurrent blocking pattern in our atmosphere was to blame for the lack of rain this summer. Storm systems were deflected into northern Saskatchewan by our jet stream, leaving most of the south and central stretches of the province parched.

Dry weather this summer caused the ground in Regina to shift so much that underground wires were yanked out of some electricity meter boxes, causing some to ignite. (Adam Hunter/CBC)

Warm year overall in Sask.

Despite this winter's cold snaps, annual average temperatures did come in warmer than climate averages at most stations in the province.

The average temperature for 2017 in Regina was 3.6 C. That number looks at all the daily highs and lows for the year in the Queen City. When compared to climate averages, the city was 0.5 C warmer than normal in 2017.

A similar trend was seen in Saskatoon this year, with the average annual temperature for 2017 sitting 0.6 C above climate averages.

Average temperatures were above climate normals in much of the province last year. (Christy Climenhaga/CBC)

Seasonal forecasts are pointing to a normal or slightly colder than normal January, February and March with near-normal levels of snowfall.