Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

March 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:

February 2002 Precipitation

Precipitation was above-normal in southern Alberta and below-normal to much-below-normal in the plains area north of Calgary during the month of February (Figure 4). The southwest corner of the province (west of a Calgary to Lethbridge line) recorded above-normal to much-above-normal precipitation (Figure 5), particularly in the high elevations (Figure 6).

Winter Precipitation (November 1, 2001 to February 28, 2002)

Winter precipitation (November 1, 2001 to February 28, 2002) is below-normal in most areas of the province (Figure 7). Precipitation in February helped raise winter totals thus far particularly in the southwest corner of the province (Figure 8). The exception is areas along the eastern side of the province and the Edson - Slave Lake - Edmonton triangle, have received much-below-normal precipitation to date and the higher elevations in the mountains, which have recorded near normal values (Figure 9).

Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast issued on March 1 for the March to May period indicates above-normal precipitation in the entire province. The forecast for the summer period (June to August) is for above-normal precipitation in southern areas of Alberta and normal precipitation elsewhere. Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting near normal precipitation for the spring (March to May) and summer (June through August) periods. NOAA's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at:

NOAA is forecasting that a warm event episode (El Nino) will likely develop in the tropical Pacific during the next few months. 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