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Wednesday, January 14

Defining an Alberta Clipper?

Written By: Brian Neudorff

An Alberta Clipper is a storm that originates in western Canada typically in or near the province of Alberta during the winter. These storms are driven southeastward by the jet stream through Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota before they turn across the Great Lakes basin headed toward the Atlantic Coast. This track keeps a clipper system hundreds of miles away from any mild water source like the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. This lack of moisture keeps these systems “moisture starved,” so they typically don't drop huge amounts of snow. In the wintertime, it may be associated with a narrow but significant band of snowfall.

One Alberta clipper pushed through the region on Wednesday. That is what brought a quick burst of snow Tuesday evening and of course those frigid temperatures we are experiencing today. Unfortunately another clipper is headed our way for tonight. This system will drop around 1 to 4 inches of fluffy snow by Thursday morning followed by another shot of even colder arctic air. This time winds will increase and with the air temperature near zero it will fee like it is 15 to 20 degrees below zero.

The cold will remain through the end of the week and into the first half of the weekend. We could even see some areas of lake effect snow Thursday night into Friday.

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