Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

December 2004

November 2004 Precipitation

Much below normal precipitation was recorded in the province, with the exceptions of the Peace River area where normal precipitation was recorded (Figure 1), and the Pincher Creek area where below-normal precipitation was recorded (Figure 2). The area from Lloydminster to Medicine Hat along the eastern side of the province recorded little to no precipitation (Figure 3).

Fall Precipitation (September 1 to October 31, 2004)

Much-above-normal precipitation was recorded in a band across the province from Peace River and Jasper to Cold Lake, whereas northeastern Alberta recorded normal precipitation and the northwestern corner of the province recorded below-normal precipitation (Figure 4). Most of southern Alberta recorded below-normal to normal precipitation except in Rocky Mountain House, High River, and Claresholm where much-above-normal precipitation occurred, and the Drumheller, Brooks, and Medicine Hat areas where much-below-normal precipitation was recorded (Figure 5). Fall precipitation totals are illustrated in Figure 6.

Soil moisture conditions in agricultural areas of the province, as measured by Alberta Agriculture for October 31, 2004 , can be seen in Figure 7. Soil moisture generally ranges from normal to well above normal in southern and western Alberta, with the most notable exceptions being in the High Level and Edson areas, which range from below normal to extreme deficit. Much of east central Alberta is classified as having below to well below normal soil moisture.


Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast for Alberta issued on December 1, 2004 for the period December 2004 through February 2005 is for above normal precipitation in the northern third of the province, normal precipitation in north central and southeastern Alberta, and below normal precipitation in the southwest quarter of Alberta. The March through May 2005 forecast is currently for below normal precipitation across almost all of Alberta. 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 forecasts issued on November 18, 2004 for December 2004 though May 2005 is for an equal chance of normal, below-normal or above-normal precipitation for southern Alberta. El Nino conditions continue to develop, and are expected to persist through early 2005, but currently remain weak. As a result, above normal temperatures are forecast from now until spring, especially for southern Alberta. Due to the current weakness of the El Nino, only a chance of below-normal precipitation is currently forecast 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