Heavy rain hammers part of southern Manitoba but brings little relief to parched Prairies

One Manitoba community received what the majority of a parched and withered province needs right now, but maybe too much of it all at once.

Birtle, southwest of Riding Mountain National Park, was drenched with 150 millimeters (six inches) of rain on Thursday evening.

Eric Dykes, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said a storm system parked itself over the small community for several hours and just opened up.

“When it’s so dry, it’s very hard for the ground to take all that in one fell swoop. As we know, rain is greatly needed across a lot of the southern Prairies right now, but not in that amount in that short of time,” he said.

The area also saw pea-sized hail, Dykes said.

Communities within about a 10-kilometre radius of Birtle received far less rain, around 15-20 mm. Beyond that, it remained mostly dry, Dykes said.

“Birtle, and the area around it, got the most by far.”

The Winnipeg area also saw some hard rain come down in a short span — about 10 minutes — but the amounts varies across the city

Some parts received 20 mm while others had nothing at all, Dykes said.

There’s a slight chance for rainfall over the weekend in southern Manitoba but it is more likely to fall over central and northern regions of the province, he said.

What southern Manitoba needs is a nice, gentle rain that lasts a full day or more, Dykes said, but the forecast isn’t offering that up just yet.

“There’s nothing in the offing that I can see as far as up into the end of next weekend. It looks rather dry.”

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