Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

March 2008

Plains Snowpack

Seventy-three snow course measurements were taken in many plains areas of Alberta at the end of February (Figure 1). Above average to much above average snowpack conditions were observed in a band across the province from Cold Lake to Lesser Slave Lake to the Peace River area, and at two locations just south of Fort Chipewyan. Snow accumulations in the Cold Lake to Lesser Slave Lake area are generally 5th highest in the past 35 years while in the Peace River area they rank among the 10 highest.

Average to above average snowpack conditions were measured in the Barrhead and Edmonton - Lloydminister areas, and the upper reaches of the Battle River. Generally average snow water equivalents were measured in the Grande Prairie - Edson and Sundre areas.

Much below average snowpack conditions were measured in the Red Deer - Rocky Mountain House area, generally ranking 5th lowest in 35 years. Below average snowpacks were observed from east of the City of Red Deer to the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. Below average to average snowpack was measured between Edmonton and Edson, in the High Level area, and in the Fort Chipewyan northern snow course observation area.

Satellite estimation of the percentage of normal of snow water water equivalent for the plains snowpack as of March 1, 2008 shows the snowpack is generally average to above average in forested areas of the province with the exception of the area west of Lesser Slave Lake which is much above average (Figure 2). In prairie areas, east central and north central areas are estimated to have above to much above normal snowpack. Elsewhere in Alberta's prairies, much below normal snowpack is estimated. Significant melting of the snowpack in many southern plains areas has occurred since the end of February. Weekly updates to the satellite map are available on the Meteorological Survey of Canada website .



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