The statistics prove it — winter has arrived in Alberta

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From Nov. 13 to 24 at least three major snowstorms swept across the province. The hardest-hit agricultural areas were found in a large band extending from Grande Prairie to Red Deer, with many areas experiencing up to a foot or more of new snow. High mountain areas saw even greater accumulations with some stations recording upwards of 75 mm of precipitation, or nearly three feet of new snow.

“The 11 days leading up to November 24, 2013, saw appreciable amounts of precipitation in most areas south of Peace River and north of the Trans-Canada Highway,” says Ralph Wright, manager of Agro-meteorological Applications and Modelling Section, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “A large area west of Edmonton, lying between Whitecourt and Lacombe, received upwards of 50 mm, bringing total snowpack accumulations in these areas to well-above normal for this time of year.”

Winter is here in full force with snowpacks in many areas north of the Trans-Canada Highway near normal to well-above normal. The areas with low soil moisture reserves are already getting a good start for the spring melt.

“While the full force of winter is upon most of us, take heart in the fact that the days will be getting longer in four weeks,” comments Wright.

Interesting facts

On Nov. 19, 2013 high in the mountains, the Lost Creek South station located near the continental divide, west of Stavely, recorded more than 45 mm of precipitation over a three-hour period, which is nearly two feet of snow. On that same day, the total precipitation measured was 73 mm or about three feet of snow.

Out on the plains between Nov. 15 and 17, the Battle River Headwaters station, located just southwest of Pigeon Lake, recorded 33.7 mm of precipitation. That’s over one foot of new snow. As of Dec. 2, since Nov. 14, this station had recorded 54.7 mm of precipitation which is equivalent to about two feet of new snow. In comparison, the normal precipitation accumulations for the entire month of November is just over 20 mm or about eight inches of snow.

Maps corresponding to this moisture update can be found on the Moisture Situation Update web page. Additional maps can be found on the ACIS website. Near-real-time hourly station data can also be viewed or downloaded.

Data has about a two-hour lag and is displayed in MST (add one hour for daylight savings time).

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