Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

April 2008

Plains Snowpack

Sixty-seven snow course measurements were taken in many plains areas of Alberta at the end of March (Figure 1). Above to much above average snowpack conditions were observed in a band across the province from Cold Lake to the Morinville-Athabasca area, to Lesser Slave Lake, the Peace River area, and extending northward to the High Level area. Fifteen of twenty-three stations within the described band recorded snow water equivalents that placed within the top 10 highest accumulation years in 35 yeas of record.

Although no snow courses were measured this month in the Cypress Hills, remote meteorological instrumentation and regional field staff reports' indicated that there was still above average snow depth in the Cypress Hills as of April 1.

Average snowpack was recorded in the St. Paul-Lloydminister-Edmonton area, and most of the Fort Chipewyan measurement area.

Average to below average snowpack conditions were measured within a band beginning just west of Edmonton and extending to Edson and Grande Prairie areas. However, little or no snow was observed at two snow survey stations in the Grande Prairie vicinty.

Little or no snow was observed at snow survey stations south of a straightline between the headwaters of the Pembina River to the Battle River at the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary except for a small area northwest of Sundre, where snowpack was below average to average. Previous years data for these stations show this is not uncommon as little or no snow remains at this time of year for approximately 25 to 50% of the sampled years.

In other forested areas of Alberta, satellite estimation of snow water water equivalent for the plains snowpack as of April 1, 2008 indicates the snowpack is generally average to above average in the Wabasca River basin and areas north of High Level, with lesser amounts in the Fort McMurray area and the Upper Hay and Chincaga River basins (Figure 2). Weekly updates to the satellite map are available on the Meteorological Survey of Canada website .



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