Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

August 2003

July 2003 Precipitation

Most of the province recorded below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation in July, however normal precipitation was recorded at Drumheller, Jasper and Cold Lake and much-above-normal precipitation was recorded at Banff (Figure 1). Almost all of southern Alberta recorded much-below-normal precipitation with the exceptions of Drumheller and Banff which recorded normal and much-above-normal precipitation respectively (Figure 2). July storms generally tracked to the southeast from between High Level and Peace River through to Fort McMurray and into Saskatchewan (Figure 3).

Summer Precipitation (May 1, 2003 to July 31, 2003)

Summer precipitation has been normal in most of the eastern half of the province and in the Banff and Calgary areas. The remainder of the province has recorded below-normal to much-below-normal summer precipitation (Figure 4). Much of southern Alberta recorded below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation with the exceptions of eastern areas toward the Saskatchewan border, and the Banff, Calgary, and Drumheller areas which recorded normal summer precipitation (Figure 5). Most of the summer precipitation to date has been in the Slave Lake and Fort McMurray areas (Figure 6).

Winter Precipitation (November 1, 2002 to April 30, 2003)

Most of the province received normal to much-above-normal precipitation during the winter with the exception of southeastern areas and the northern third of the province which received below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation (Figure 7). In southern Alberta, below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation was received in areas south of Claresholm and east of Drumheller except for the Empress area which received much-above-normal precipitation. Normal to much-above-normal precipitation was recorded north of Claresholm and west of Drumheller (Figure 8). The bulk of winter precipitation fell in the mountains, foothills and generally the central third of the province (Figure 9).

Fall Precipitation (September 1 to October 31, 2002)

Below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation was recorded north of Red Deer in the September and October 2002 period, except for the Fort Chipewyan and Peace regions where precipitation was much-above-normal (Figure 10). Areas south of Red Deer recorded above-normal to much-above-normal precipitation (Figure 11). The least precipitation recorded was in east-central Alberta (Figure 12).

Soil moisture going into winter is below-normal to much-below-normal north of Calgary. South of Calgary, soil moisture is generally normal to above-normal, especially west of Lethbridge and east of Medicine Hat. A map of fall soil moisture is available from Alberta Agriculture at: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/cl5882/$FILE/fall02.pdf


Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast issued on June 1, 2003 for this summer (June through August) is for above-normal precipitation in central areas of Alberta, and normal precipitation elsewhere. The long-lead forecast for the fall period (September through November) is above-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 July 17, 2003 is for an equal chance of normal, below-normal or above-normal precipitation for the summer and fall (August through November) for southern Alberta. 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