Alberta Clippers are synonymous for bringing snowfall lee of the Canadian Rockies, during December and January. These typically moisture-starved systems are fast movers, ejecting quickly out of Alberta, through the Southern Prairies – towards the Great Lakes. Read more about Alberta Clippers here.
A clipper is expected to form in Northern Alberta Saturday evening. Normally, these systems are more of a nuisance, accompanied by low snowfall totals and quick forward motion. On the contrary, this weekends system will flourish. Thanks to clashing temperatures and abundant Pacific moisture.
Accumulations will vary greatly throughout the Prairies, bearing in mind the heaviest snow will fall along a narrow swath. Current guidance suggests close to 15cm across the northern extent of the darker shaded region (in our forecast map). Including, Northern & Central Alberta. The heaviest snow (~20cm) will fall across Extreme Southwest Manitoba and Southeast Saskatchewan. *Model guidance has increased snowfall totals further into Southwestern Manitoba, where Environment Canada has issued snowfall warnings. Several warnings now stretch across parts of Prairies.
There will be another swath of snow tracking down the Rockies, bringing 10-20cm. It looks like Calgary will be limited to less than 5cm through Friday. By Saturday, a steep contrast in temperature envelopes the Prairies. Calgary will see a high of 9c and sunshine. Whereas, Eastern Saskatchewan will still be below freezing.
STRONG WINDS & BLOWING SNOW
Winds pickup between the Grande Prairie – Whitecourt corridor early Saturday evening. Winds sustained at or over 30km/h, gusting 60-80km/h. Gusty winds will overspread much of Alberta and Southern Saskatchewan overnight Saturday into Sunday morning. The strongest wind gusts aren’t expected to coincide with the heaviest swath of snow. Still, freshly fallen snowfall, which is dry and light – will combine with gusty winds. Bringing local blowing and drifting snow. Stay tuned to weather advisories, or statements pertaining to any potential road closures.