We should see some improvement in the weather as we get into the second half of Spring.

That is according to Drew Lerner, the senior Agri-meteorologist with World Weather Inc. He says in the meantime we are going to continue to deal with the same below-normal precipitation bias that has been with us all winter long.

"We've had a very warm winter for the most part, except for that brief period in January," says Lerner. "All of this is due to a strong high-pressure ridge that has been present over the western part of the prairies that is not likely to go away, at least not full-time. We do think that there will be some weakness that will develop in the ridge as we get into March and perhaps early April and that's when our best chances for rain will begin to develop. "

He says while it will help with spring seeding it is not going to be enough precipitation to seriously change the drought situation in Alberta and Saskatchewan where they will still need larger volumes of moisture.

Lerner says the eastern part of the prairies, in particular Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan, will have a better chance for larger storm systems to evolve in late March and early April.

Statistics show that southwestern Manitoba and northern Alberta have been very dry this winter, close to record dry for the season, but they did see some moisture in October and November.

Lerner notes they will need to see some moisture in the Palliser Triangle (southern Alberta and parts of western and southwest Saskatchewan).

"I do think that the moisture is going to be greater than it was last year, but still not enough to bring up the very low moisture profile in the subsoil," he says. "So, I think we'll have some moisture to plant with, but we're going to be very concerned about the longer range."

He notes as we move into summer there will be more precipitation in the southwest and west central parts of Saskatchewan and into the drier areas of Alberta as that ridge settles over the middle of the U.S.

"If that is the case, we will see less than normal rain in the southeastern prairies, while the western part of the prairies will start to do better," adds Lerner. "So, in the summer, we should see improved precipitation events in Alberta and Western Saskatchewan, as well as the northern part of Saskatchewan. While the southeastern part of the region, at least southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan may see a drier tendency."

Lerner was a keynote speaker during Manitoba Crop Connect in Winnipeg and the Alberta CrossRoads events.