Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

April 2004

March 2004 Precipitation

Much-above-normal precipitation was recorded in a band from Peace River to Slave Lake to Cold Lake and Lloydminster. Areas north of this band recorded normal precipitation. The remainder of the province generally recorded below-normal or much-below-normal precipitation (Figure 1). Most of southern Alberta recorded below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation except for Red Deer, Banff and the Cypress Hills which recorded normal precipitation (Figure 2). March precipitation totals are shown in Figure 3.

Winter Precipitation (November 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004)

The entire province recorded below-normal to much-below-normal winter precipitation (Figure 4) except Empress which recorded much-above-normal precipitation (Figure 5). Winter precipitation totals are shown in Figure 6.

Fall Precipitation (September 1 to October 31, 2003)

Generally, precipitation recorded in both northwestern and central Alberta varied from near-normal to much-below-normal, while much-above-normal precipitation was recorded in northeastern Alberta (Figure 7). In southern Alberta, precipitation totals generally ranged from near-normal to much-above-normal except at Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, Coronation, Drumheller and the Bighorn Dam where much-below-normal precipitation was recorded (Figure 8). Despite generally good precipitation totals (Figure 9) ,soil moisture conditions are very dry in most areas of the province, since late summer was generally very dry and much of the autumn precipitation fell as snow. The only area having average fall soil moisture is in east-central Alberta, along the Saskatchewan border. A map showing soil moisture conditions in the province is available from the Alberta Agriculture website through this link.

Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast issued on March 1, 2004 for the period March 2004 through May 2004 is for near normal precipitation in most of Alberta, but below-normal precipitation in east-central areas and above-normal precipitation in the Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan areas. The long-lead forecast for June through August is for below-normal precipitation throughout the province. Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at: http://weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/saisons/index_e.html.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) long-lead precipitation forecast issued on March 18, 2004 for April though to the end of September is for an equal chance of normal, below-normal or above-normal precipitation for southern Alberta except above-normal precipitation is predicted for the very south-west corner of alberta from April though to the end of June. NOAA's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/90day/.

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