Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

February 2003

Plains Runoff Outlook

As of February 1, 2003, spring snowmelt runoff is forecast to be much-below-normal for Alberta's plains, with the exception of an area between Peace River, Slave Lake, and Edson where below-normal to much-below-normal spring snowmelt runoff is forecast (Figure 1). Soil moisture is much-below-average for the province north of Calgary, except in a band extending from Peace River through the plains and foothills west of Edson and Calgary, where soil moisture is below-average. Near-average snowpack in the area between Peace River, Slave Lake and Edson, combined with below-normal soil moisture, means below-normal to much-below-normal runoff is expected in this area. Despite near-normal snowpack in north-central areas, such as Edmonton, much-below-average snowmelt runoff is forecast due to extremely dry soil moisture conditions. South of Calgary, soil moisture ranges from below-normal to above-normal, but little to no snow there means little runoff can be generated by snowmelt.

Routine snow surveys to monitor snowpack on the plains begin in late February. Since it is still early in the runoff forecasting season, further weather conditions leading up to spring could also change this forecast considerably. Check the Forecaster's Comments on the department website throughout the month for the most current conditions.

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