GFM Network News


This map shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far this agricultural year (which runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31) compared to historical amounts. Most regions have seen near-average amounts of precipitation, with only a few small pockets in south-central Alberta and Manitoba receiving below average. Wet areas were found along the northern edges and in southeastern Saskatchewan.

Why Alberta gets more than its fair share of hail

The number or size of thunderstorms is less important than how close the freezing layer is to the ground

Reading Time: 4 minutes It’s time to continue our series of articles on different types of severe summer weather. I like to re-examine these topics every year or two due to the importance of understanding the different types of severe weather, and also because most people find this aspect of weather so fascinating. In this issue we are going to […] Read more

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far this growing season compared to historical values. It continues to be a dry start to the growing season across nearly 
all of Manitoba and much of Saskatchewan, with wide areas reporting values that are very low to extremely low. 


Diving a little deeper into summer weather and tornadoes

Tornadoes are nearly impossible to study but we do know a lot 
about the mechanics of how they form

Reading Time: 3 minutes In this instalment, we’ll continue our look at severe thunderstorms, and specifically, the most deadly part — tornadoes. While eastern parts of the Prairies have only seen a few isolated severe thunderstorms, parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta have already seen their fair share. I think most Canadians were more than impressed, and maybe a little bit […] Read more


This map shows the amount of precipitation compared to average that fell across the Prairies over the 30-day period ending on May 25. It continues to be a tale of east versus west, with most of Alberta reporting average to above-average amounts, while in Manitoba amounts have been well below average. In Saskatchewan, southern and eastern regions have been dry while northern sections have been wet.

Tornado season is upon us — here’s what to watch for

The area between the storm and cloud, clouds with bags hanging from them, and the wind are keys in spotting the danger

Reading Time: 3 minutes So far in our look at severe summer weather, and in particular thunderstorms, we have looked at how thunderstorms form, how they can grow into severe thunderstorms, and finally, how hail is produced. Next up on the severe thunderstorm list is tornadoes! Before we begin our look at tornadoes though, I think we have to […] Read more

This graphic shows the total number of severe summer weather events that took place across the Prairie provinces in 2016. A quick look at the graph shows that hail was the main severe weather event last summer. Manitoba led the way with 147 hail events and Alberta came in a close second with 144 events.

When it came to severe weather, Alberta (thankfully) was no. 2

We still had nearly twice as many ‘hail events’ as usual, 
but Manitoba was worse off for once


Reading Time: 3 minutes The new year comes with the usual list of Top 10 things about the previous year, and in the category of weather, this really appears to be the case. There are the Top 10 Prairie weather stories, Top 10 Canadian weather stories, and the Top 10 world weather stories (which often tend to be skewed […] Read more


Salvaging hail-damaged crops

Storm damage to crops can result in problems with nitrate accumulations, especially if the crops were heavily fertilized or manured in the spring to optimize yield. “With volatile weather comes storm damage and, for some producers, this means salvaging crops for feed,” says Andrea Hanson, beef extension specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Airdrie. Hanson cautions […] Read more

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that fell across the Prairies compared to average during the 30-day period ending on June 9. It is evident that this has been a fairly active period, with a large portion of all three Prairie provinces showing near- to above-average amounts of rainfall. The wettest regions were found in Alberta, stretching from Grande Prairie southeastwards towards Coronation and western Saskatchewan and southeastern Saskatchewan to southwestern Manitoba. Interestingly, north-central Saskatchewan was very dry during this period.

It’s that time of year when severe summer weather and tornadoes can form

Tornadoes have occurred in nearly all regions of Canada — 
here is what to look for when a severe storm is approaching

Reading Time: 3 minutes As we enter the peak season for severe weather across the Canadian Prairies, I figured now would be a good time to continue our look at severe weather and tornadoes. While Alberta doesn’t see the same number of tornadoes relative to areas to the east and south, the province is still subject to these events. Before […] Read more


These bins were anchored with cables, but the cables snapped when the bins started rocking when winds in the Bonnyville area gusted to 130 kilometres an hour in January 2014.

Beat high winds by anchoring your bins

More extreme weather coupled with modern bins that are taller and lighter is a recipe for trouble

Reading Time: 3 minutes It doesn’t matter what side of the climate change debate you’re on, few producers would deny that, for whatever reason, weather is getting more extreme. Between hurricane-force winds and the generally lighter and taller designs of many modern grain bins, there seems to be more instances of grain bins being knocked over or otherwise damaged. […] Read more

Severe summer weather. Taking a look at thunderstorms and wind

Everyone knows what a funnel cloud looks like, but understanding how it forms isn’t easy

Reading Time: 3 minutes In continuing our look at severe thunderstorms, we’ll look at specifically, the most deadly part — tornadoes. What are tornadoes and how do they form? A classic definition of a tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground, which may or may not be visible as a funnel cloud. For […] Read more


Keep watch: How to spot the warning signs of a tornado

A dark area between the storm and the ground, a green tint to the sky, and a line of swirling clouds are all danger signs

Reading Time: 3 minutes This next topic in our look at different types of severe summer weather is severe thunderstorms, and in particular, high winds. When we think of severe thunderstorms one word that should make you worried and nervous is tornado. While tornadoes are the most destructive feature that can occur within a thunderstorm, they are fairly rare, with […] Read more

Farming Smarter has created a hail simulator — dog chains attached to a bar that can be attached to a front-end loader — to create a reasonable imitation of hail damage.

Researchers invent their own version of the great white combine

Farming Smarter has created a hail simulator so it can test ‘hail rescue’ treatments

Reading Time: 3 minutes What can you do when your crops get pounded by hail? How do crops recover from hail damage? There are a lot of questions about this subject, and little information available. That’s why the team at Farming Smarter developed its own hail damage simulation machine, which it unveiled at the organization’s recent field school. “We […] Read more