By Tom Collins
OTTAWA — Western Ontario farmers anxious to get into the fields should see their hopes buoyed by Environment Canada’s spring forecast of warmer-than-normal temperatures.
Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said overall, April and May are expected to be warmer than normal. Last year almost skipped spring, said Phillips, as April was cold with snow and freezing rain, while May went straight to 30 C temperatures.
“It will be a legitimate spring this year,” he said. “Farmers will be onto their fields in April, even though they might find they’re a little behind schedule right now.”
Since September, Ontario has had 85 to 115 per cent of normal precipitation, which means soils are not oversaturated. “That’s music to farmers’ ears,” he said.
This year is projected to see a slow thawing of the ground as the nights are expected to be cold and the days warm. This will help lessen the risk of flooding and standing water, said Phillips.
Don’t be surprised to see a few more flurries. Phillips said Windsor, for example, will average 14 cm of snow in the spring. However, that wet, slushy snow can be a good thing as it adds extra moisture to the soil, he said.
Environment Canada doesn’t predict precipitation more than a week in advance because it’s too unpredictable, he said.