Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

May 2003

April 2003 Precipitation

Above-normal to much-above-normal precipitation was recorded in most of northern and central Alberta during April, except in the northeast (Slave Lake-Fort McMurray-Fort Chipewyan) and the Jasper area which recorded below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation (Figure 1). Similarly, in southern Alberta most of the precipitation was in the above-normal to much-above-normal range, except for the Coronation and Medicine Hat areas which received normal amounts of precipitaiton (Figure 2). Unusually high amounts of precipitation were recorded in the Sundre and Lac La Biche-Cold Lake areas (Figure 3).

Winter Precipitation (November 1, 2002 to April 30, 2003)

Most of the province received normal to much-above-normal precipitation during the winter with the exception of southeastern areas and the northern third of the province which received below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation (Figure 4). In southern Alberta, below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation was received in areas south of Claresholm and east of Drumheller except for the Empress area which received much-above-normal precipitation. Normal to much-above-normal precipitation was recorded north of Claresholm and west of Drumheller (Figure 5). The bulk of winter precipitation fell in the mountains, foothills and generally the central third of the province (Figure 6).

Fall Precipitation (September 1 to October 31, 2002)

Below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation was recorded north of Red Deer in the September and October 2002 period, except for the Fort Chipewyan and Peace regions where precipitation was much-above-normal (Figure 7). Areas south of Red Deer recorded above-normal to much-above-normal precipitation (Figure 8). The least precipitation recorded was in east-central Alberta (Figure 9).

Soil moisture going into winter is below-normal to much-below-normal north of Calgary. South of Calgary, soil moisture is generally normal to above-normal, especially west of Lethbridge and east of Medicine Hat. A map of fall soil moisture is available from Alberta Agriculture at:


Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast issued on March 1, 2003 for the spring period (March through May) is for near-normal precipitation in the province, except the Peace River-Slave Lake-Edson area and areas along the border with the Northwest Territories, where above-normal precipitation is expected. The long-lead forecast for summer (June through August) is above-normal precipitation in the plains areas from Calgary to the Northwest Territories border, and normal precipitation elsewhere. 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) is forecasting normal precipitation for the southern portion of the province during May and the summer (June through August). 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