Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

July 2004

June 2004 Precipitation

Most of central and northern Alberta recorded much-below-normal precipitation, however normal precipitation was recorded at Whitecourt and Lloydminister and much-above-normal precipitation was recorded between Grande Prairie and Jasper and at Cold Lake (Figure 1). Southern Alberta recorded generally below-normal to normal precipitation, with the exceptions of Calgary, Kananaskis, Pincher Creek and Drumheller which recorded much-above-normal precipitation (Figure 2). June precipitation totals are shown in Figure 3.

Summmer Precipitation (May 1, 2004 to June 30, 2004)

Most of central and northern Alberta recorded below-normal to much-below normal summer precipitation, however the Grande Prairie-Jasper, and Lloydminster-Cold Lake areas received normal to above-normal precipitation amounts (Figure 4). In southern Alberta, areas south and west of a line from Calgary to the Cypress Hills area recorded above-normal to much-above-normal precipitation. Areas to the north and east of this line recorded generally below-normal to normal precipitation, with the exceptions of Empress and Drumheller which recorded above-normal to much-above-normal precipitation (Figure 5). Most summer precipitation has been in the mountains and foothills and in the Cold Lake and Cypress Hills areas (Figure 6).

Winter Precipitation (November 1, 2003 to April 30, 2004)

The entire province recorded below-normal to much-below-normal winter precipitation except Peace River and Cold Lake which recorded near-normal precipitation (Figure 7), and Empress which recorded above-normal precipitation (Figure 8). Winter precipitation totals are shown in Figure 9.

Soil moisture at the end of this period, May 1, 2004, was measured by Alberta Agriculture. Most of the province's soil moisture is below-average, with areas east of Calgary and Drumheller much-below-average. Average soil moisture conditions exist in the area between Peace River and Slave Lake, in a narrow band through Edmonton, and along the Saskatchewan border from the Lloydminster area north towards Fort McMurray. Soil moisture conditions are drier than last spring, but not as dry as in 2000 or 2001. A map of Alberta Agriculture's findings is available here.


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 10). In southern Alberta, precipitation totals generally ranged from near-normal to much-above-normal except at Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, Coronation, Drumheller and the Bighorn Dam where much-below-normal precipitation was recorded (Figure 11). Despite generally good precipitation totals (Figure 12) ,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 July 1, 2004 for the period July 2004 through September 2004 is for below-normal precipitation throughout Alberta. The long-lead forecast for September through November, issued on May 30, 2004, is for above-normal precipitation in northern and central Alberta, and normal precipitation in the south. 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 June 17, 2004 for July though to the end of November is for an equal chance of normal, below-normal or above-normal precipitation for southern Alberta, however there is an increased chance of above-normal precipitation during July for southern mountain and foothills areas. 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