Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

April 2002

Fall Precipitation (September 1 to October 31, 2001)

Fall Precipitation was below-normal to much-below-normal in most areas of the province (Figure 1) with southern areas recording much-below-normal values (Figure 2). As a result of the low precipitation totals (Figure 3), soil moisture conditions remain very dry in most areas of the province. A map showing soil moisture conditions in the province is available from the Alberta Agriculture website located at:

March 2002 Precipitation

Areas along the eastern edge of the province and north of Slave Lake recorded below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation during the month of March (Figure 4). Precipitation was generally above-normal in the southern two-thirds of the province in March as a result of two significant snowstorms during the month (Figure 5). Higher elevations recorded above-normal snowfall during March (Figure 6).

Winter Precipitation (November 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002)

Winter precipitation (November 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002) is below-normal in most areas of the northern half of the province (Figure 7). Precipitation in March helped raise winter totals closer to normal values, particularly in southern Alberta (Figure 8). Areas along the eastern side of the province have received much-below-normal precipitation to date. The higher elevations in the mountains have recorded near normal to above-normal values (Figure 9).

Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast issued on March 1 for the March to May period indicates above-normal precipitation in the entire province. The forecast for the summer period (June to August) is for above-normal precipitation in southern areas of Alberta and normal precipitation elsewhere. Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting near normal precipitation for the spring (April to May) and summer (June through August) periods. NOAA's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at:

NOAA is forecasting that a warm event episode (El Nino) will likely develop in the tropical Pacific during the next few months. The significance of an El Nino event to the province of Alberta is that winter precipitation is typically below-normal during such events. The last major El Nino event occurred in the winter of 1997-98.

For technical enquires about this web page please contact Alberta Environment - Environmental Management Water Management Operations Branch at AENV-WebWS@gov.ab.ca