Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

February 2005

January 2005 Precipitation

The northern third of the province recorded generally above normal precipitation with the exception of the High Level area, which was much above normal. Central and southern Alberta recorded generally below to much below normal precipitation except the Whitecourt-Jasper area, which was above normal, the Brooks area, which was normal, and a narrow band from Banff through Red Deer to Lloydminster, which was near normal. Mountain areas of the province recorded generally normal to above normal precipitation, however Waterton Park and the upper North Saskatchewan River basin recorded below normal precipitation and Sunshine Village near Banff recorded much above normal precipitation (Figure 1). January precipitation totals are illustrated in (Figure 2).

Winter Precipitation (November 1, 2004 to January 31, 2005)

Northern Alberta, and mountain and foothill areas recorded generally normal winter precipitation except the High Level area, Peace River and Sunshine Village near Banff, which recorded much above normal precipitation. Most central and southern plains areas recorded below to much below normal winter precipitation except the Whitecourt, Red Deer and Cypress Hills areas, which recorded normal winter precipitation (Figure 3). Winter precipitation totals are illustrated in (Figure 4).

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. 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 forecast for Alberta issued on February 1, 2005 for the February through April 2005 period is for warm weather. Precipitation during this period is forecast to be above normal in northwestern Alberta and the Fort Chipewyan region, below normal for southern Alberta and the Cold Lake area, and normal in the rest of 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 forecasts issued on January 20, 2004 for February through April 2005 is for warm temperatures and an equal chance of normal, below normal or above normal precipitation for most of southern Alberta. The NOAA is anticipating weak El Nino conditions to gradually diminish over the next three months. 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