Manitoba

Winnipeg experiences driest April in 30 years, 4th driest on record

The wind continues to kick up a lot of dust in Winnipeg skies as the city experiences the driest spring it's had in 30 years — and among the driest in nearly 150 years.

City got just 1.7 mm of rain last month, far below average of 19.2 mm, Environment Canada says

A grass fire rages near train tracks north of Dugald Road on Sunday morning. (Submitted by Hayden Maines)

The wind continues to kick up a lot of dust in Winnipeg skies as the city experiences the driest spring it's had in 30 years — and among the driest in nearly 150 years.

This past April was the driest since 1988 and the fourth driest since records were first kept in 1872, said Environment Canada meteorologist Justin Share.

Winnipeg received just 1.7 millimetres of rain last month when the city normally gets an average of 19.2 mm.

The driest April recorded was in 1980, when only trace amounts of rain were observed in Winnipeg. Tied in second place are 1987 and 1988, when only 0.8 mm of rain fell.

Burn bans remain in place for Winnipeg after weekend grass fires. The same restrictions are in effect in the Interlake, throughout southeastern Manitoba and in parts of the south and southwest.

"This is an issue going into summer typically on the Prairies if you don't have any spring showers to kind of moisten the soil," Share said. 

"It's hard for the crops to pull moisture from the soil then, which in turn usually goes into the atmosphere and creates more rain in the summertime."

Numerous grass fires and wildfires have started in Winnipeg and southern Manitoba in recent weeks, and the dry conditions have contributed to at least one eight-kilometre-long fire burning in the southeastern rural municipality of Piney.

A state of emergency declared Monday in the hamlet of Badger, located in the RM of Piney, remains in place Tuesday, and Highway 203 is closed.

The southeast got a small amount of rain overnight but not enough to truly dampen the dry conditions in the area, said Share.

Rain is in the forecast for Winnipeg and some parts of the south over the next few days.

With files from Meaghan Ketcheson

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