Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

May 2004

April 2004 Precipitation

Near-normal precipitation was recorded in a band through north central Alberta between Grande Prairie and Edson, to Slave Lake and Edmonton, and on to Cold Lake and Lloydminster. Much-above-normal precipitation was recorded at Peace River and Fort McMurray. Northernmost Alberta and southern Alberta recorded generally much-below normal precipitation (Figure 1), except Red Deer, the Bighorn Dam and the very southwest corner of Alberta, which recorded above-normal to much-above-normal precipitation (Figure 2). April precipitation totals are shown in Figure 3.

Winter Precipitation (November 1, 2003 to April 30, 2004)

The entire province recorded below-normal to much-below-normal winter precipitation except Peace River and Cold Lake which recorded near-normal precipitation (Figure 4), and Empress which recorded above-normal precipitation (Figure 5). Winter precipitation totals are shown in Figure 6. Please note that the winter precipitation totals map in the April Water Supply Outlook has been revised to correct erroneous data east of Edmonton and Red Deer.

Fall Precipitation (September 1 to October 31, 2003)

Generally, precipitation recorded in both northwestern and central Alberta varied from near-normal to much-below-normal, while much-above-normal precipitation was recorded in northeastern Alberta (Figure 7). In southern Alberta, precipitation totals generally ranged from near-normal to much-above-normal except at Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, Coronation, Drumheller and the Bighorn Dam where much-below-normal precipitation was recorded (Figure 8). Despite generally good precipitation totals (Figure 9) ,soil moisture conditions are very dry in most areas of the province, since late summer was generally very dry and much of the autumn precipitation fell as snow. The only area having average fall soil moisture is in east-central Alberta, along the Saskatchewan border. A map showing soil moisture conditions in the province is available from the Alberta Agriculture website through this link.

Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast issued on March 1, 2004 for the period March 2004 through May 2004 is for near normal precipitation in most of Alberta, but below-normal precipitation in east-central areas and above-normal precipitation in the Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan areas. The long-lead forecast for June through August is for below-normal precipitation throughout the province. 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) long-lead precipitation forecasts issued on April 15, 2004 for May though to the end of October is for an equal chance of normal, below-normal or above-normal precipitation for southern Alberta. 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