Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

December 2003

December 2003 Precipitation (UPDATED: December 8, 2003)

Most of northern and central Alberta recorded below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation (Figure 1). Areas of Alberta south of a line through the Sundre, Drumheller and Empress regions recorded normal to much-above-normal precipitation (Figure 2). Most November precipitation fell in the mountains and foothills of Southern Alberta (Figure 3).

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 4). In southern Alberta, precipitation totals generally ranged from near-normal to much-above-normal except at Pincher Creek, Coronation and the Bighorn Dam where much-below-normal precipitation was recorded (Figure 5). Despite generally good precipitation totals (Figure 6) ,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 December 1, 2003 for the period December through February 2003 is for above-normal precipitation throughout Alberta. The long-lead forecast for March through May 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 November 20, 2003 is for an equal chance of normal, below-normal or above-normal precipitation for southern Alberta during the December through May period, with a higher chance of above-normal precipitation in the southern mountains during the December through February period. 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