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What is an Alberta Clipper?

Published On: Jul 28 2011 12:08:28 PM EDT

Alberta clippers are areas of low pressure that usually forms over Alberta, Canada, which is east of the Rocky Mountains.

They are able to develop east of the Rockies because the air is flowing eastward over the mountains and this creates favorable conditions for a low-pressure system.

After an Alberta Clipper is formed it generally moves very quickly to the southeast and crosses the northern plains. It will continue to move eastward and exit off the mid-Atlantic Coast.


Clippers are usually fast-moving systems that cause only light amounts of precipitation with very few producing major snowstorms.

However, some Alberta Clippers can intensify rapidly once the storm taps into the relatively warm moist air over the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast.

If the clippers are able to rapidly intensify, they could spread heavy snow over New England and southeastern Canada.

For the most part some light snow and a reinforcement of cold air over the USA are the main weather features associated with a Alberta Clippers.