Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

June 2002

Fall Precipitation (September 1 to October 31, 2001)

Fall Precipitation was below-normal to much-below-normal in most areas of the province (Figure 1) with southern areas recording much-below-normal values (Figure 2). As a result of the low precipitation totals (Figure 3), soil moisture conditions remain very dry in most areas of the province. A map showing soil moisture conditions in the province is available from the Alberta Agriculture website located at:

Winter Precipitation (November 1, 2001 to April 30, 2002)

Winter precipitation (November 1, 2001 to April 30, 2002) is near normal in most areas west of a Grande-Prairie-Whitecourt-Red Deer-Lethbridge line and below-normal in areas east of this line (Figure 4). Precipitation in April helped raise winter totals closer to normal values, particularly in southern Alberta (Figure 5). Areas along the eastern side of the province have received much-below-normal precipitation to date and the higher elevations in the mountains, which have recorded above-normal values (Figure 6).

May 2002 Precipitation

Precipitation was generally below-normal north of Calgary during the month of May (Figure 7). Areas south and west of Calgary received much-above-normal precipitation in May as a result of two significant snowstorms to hit the area (Figure 8). Eastern and northern areas of the province did not receive significant precipitation accumulations in May and remain very dry
(Figure 9).

Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast on June 1 for the June to August period indicates above-normal precipitation in the northern half of the province and below-normal precipitation in southern Alberta. The forecast for the fall period (September to November) is for above-normal precipitation in the northern two-thirds of the province and normal in the southern portion of Alberta. Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting below-normal precipitation for the southern portion of the province during the summer (June through August) period. NOAA is forecasting for an equal chance of below-normal, normal or above-normal precipitation in the fall of 2002 (September to November). NOAA's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at:

NOAA indicates that a weak to moderate warm event episode (El Nino) continues to develop in the tropical Pacific. The significance of an El Nino event to the province of Alberta is that winter precipitation is typically below-normal during such events. The last major El Nino event occurred in the winter of 1997-98.

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