Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

September 2003

August 2003 Precipitation

Most of the province recorded below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation in August, however above-normal precipitation was recorded at Edmonton (Figure 1). Almost all of southern Alberta recorded much-below-normal precipitation with the exceptions of Sundre and the Elbow Ranger Station which recorded normal precipitation (Figure 2). The highest precipitation totals for August were recorded between Fort McMurray and Cold Lake and around Lesser Slave Lake (Figure 3).

Summer Precipitation (May 1, 2003 to August 31, 2003)

Summer precipitation has been near-normal in northeastern and east-central Alberta. The remainder of the province generally received below-normal to much-below-normal summer precipitation (Figure 4). Southern Alberta generally received below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation, except at Calgary, Banff and a few eastern locations, where near-normal precipitation has been recorded (Figure 5). The most precipitation recorded to date this summer has been in the Slave Lake and Fort McMurray areas (Figure 6).

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 7). 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 8). The bulk of winter precipitation fell in the mountains, foothills and generally the central third of the province (Figure 9).

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 10). Areas south of Red Deer recorded above-normal to much-above-normal precipitation (Figure 11). The least precipitation recorded was in east-central Alberta (Figure 12).

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: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/cl5882/$FILE/fall02.pdf


Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast issued on September 1, 2003 for the period September through November 2003 is for above-normal precipitation in northeastern, east-central and southern areas of the province, below-normal precipitation in northwestern Alberta, and normal precipitation in west-central Alberta. The long-lead forecast for December through February is above-normal precipitation towards the NWT border, and below-normal precipitation in the rest of 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 forecast issued on August 21, 2003 is for an equal chance of normal, below-normal or above-normal precipitation for the fall and winter periods (September through February) 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