The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (WSA) issued its 2019 Conditions at Freeze-up Report Monday morning, and thanks to well above average precipitation through the fall, conditions are favourable for a higher than normal spring run-off in much of southern Saskatchewan.
The Souris River Basin, including the Antler River and Gainsborough Creek basins, were particularly wet at freeze-up.
While these conditions are wetter than normal, this preliminary forecast for next spring will also be impacted by actual conditions and snow accumulation through winter. Current long-range forecasts suggest near normal precipitation and above normal temperatures for much of the winter.
“This initial assessment does not mean there will be flooding in southern Saskatchewan next year,” the WSA said in a news release. “The runoff potential is higher because the existing wetter soil conditions will reduce infiltration next spring.”
By contrast, much of northern Saskatchewan enters winter with normal conditions, the result of below normal precipitation this fall after a wetter than normal summer.
The only areas where drier than normal conditions persist entering winter is a small area around Kindersley, the area between Saskatoon and Prince Albert and a small area northeast of Yorkton that extends to the Manitoba border.
The report is a tool to assist the WSA in planning, but also helps Saskatchewan communities start to plan for next spring. The WSA will be monitoring the development of the winter snowpack and will issue a spring runoff outlook in early February.