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Southern Alberta suffering from lack of precipitation this winter

While much of the province has seen average snowfall, the south has been below or well-below average

It’s a mixed bag when it comes to the soil moisture situation in the province.

Most of the area north of Calgary has “experienced at least near-normal precipitation accumulations,” said Ralph Wright, manager of the agro-meteorological applications and modelling section with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

“In contrast, throughout much of southern Alberta, accumulations have been below average, ranging from about one-in-three- to six-year lows for those areas east of Highway 2, and falling to at least one-in-six- to 12-year lows throughout many of the foothill areas,” Wright said in a news release.

It’s a similar have and have-not story when it comes to snowpacks. As of Jan. 6, snowpacks are near normal in the northern half of the province, he said.

“Above-average snow is found across a wide area lying generally south of Slave Lake, stretching south to the Yellowhead Highway and roughly between Edson and Vegreville.”

Most areas north of Edmonton have at least 50 millimetres of water in the snowpacks.

“The deepest snowpacks are found throughout much of the extreme southern portions and western portions of the Peace Region with many areas having more than 70 millimetres of water contained within them,” said Wright. “For perspective, on average May precipitation accumulations generally range from 50 to 70 millimetres throughout these areas. South of the Yellowhead Highway, snowpacks gradually thin out with most of southern Alberta now being largely snow free.”

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