Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

March 2004

Plains Snowpack

Seventy-one snow course measurements were taken in plains areas of Alberta at the end of February (Figure 1). Most snow measurements indicate above-average to much-above-average snowpack in west-central Alberta, except along the foothills of the North Saskatchewan River basin in the Rocky Mountain House and Brazeau Dam areas where snowpack is average. Near record high snowpack was measured on the top and south slopes of the Cypress Hills, however there is little snow left on the north slopes. In east-central Alberta, snow accumulations are much-below-average between Lloydminster and Coronation, below-average between Coronation and Red Deer, and average between Red Deer and Cold Lake. In northern Alberta, measurements indicate snowpack is below-average to average in the Slave Lake, Grande Prairie, and Peace River areas, above-average in the corridor between Peace River and High Level, and average in the High Level and Fort Chipewyan areas.

Satellite estimation of plains snowpack as of March 1, 2004 is available in Figure 1. In the Fort McMurray area, snowpack is estimated to be average. In southern Alberta, the snow cover is generally patchy, but some areas of better snowpack to the south and northeast of Calgary are indicated on the satellite map. Weekly updates to the satellite map are available on the Meteorological Survey of Canada website .

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