wheat-crop-prairies

Yields of wheat and other grains have been surpassing records all across the Prairies, with some crop harvests expected to be up by more than 10 per cent over last year. (Todd Korol/Reuters)

A prominent meteorologist says parts of Saskatchewan could face a drier summer than usual this year. 

Drew Lerner, the owner of World Weather Inc., told CBC's Saskatoon Morning the weather pattern from 2012 to 2014 looks very similar to that of 1934 to 1936. 

In 1936 Saskatchewan faced a drought that plummeted crop prices and turned the southern part of the province into a dust bowl.

"It turns out that 1936 was one of the coldest years on record," said Lerner. "Along with 1978, and 1996 and even 1918 and all of these years had a tendency to have a little of a drier bias a little later down the road."

"My concern is that we went in 1936 from the very cold and relatively dry environment for parts of the prairies and ended up a rather dry dust bowl type scenario across a portion not only of the southern Canada prairies, but down through the most U.S. plains as well."

Lerner said he's pretty confident there won't be a compete repeat of 1936, but warns people should be careful when they start making their plans for the summer season since there are weather similarities. 

"I certainly don't want to walk away from this conversation with the implication that another 1936 style is going to occur in the southern prairies and into the states, but I do think there's going to be a little more dryness around." 

The prairies have had multiple years that have been wet and now Lerner said the pattern is shifting. 

"We will see some more dryness, especially in Northern Alberta and portions of Northern Saskatchewan, maybe even parts of Western Saskatchewan as well. So as we go through the growing season this year we'll probably have more of a drier tilt in those areas at least."  

Lerner said there will be a good weather mix in the spring with a good amount of snow on the ground in several areas. He said the snow will melt without having above average precipitation in the spring. 

"We will have a continuation of a colder bias conditions across Saskatchewan and Manitoba in particular, so the soil temperatures may not warm quite as quickly there. We may also leave some of the moisture that's out there a little longer," he said. 

"So, maybe a little slow start there, but as soon as we do start getting some warming to take place it will happen quickly and it will be in the fields aggressively and then it's just a question of whether or not we do see that dryness in the states becoming significant enough to influence our weather."