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What is an Alberta Clipper?

What is an Alberta Clipper?
What is an Alberta Clipper?
Penny Anderson

Snow lovers don’t mind to hear “winter storm advisory in affect”. School children enjoy hearing “two hour delay tomorrow”, or better yet, “schools are closed”. Virginia has been hit several times this winter with snow and ice, usually caused by something moisture heavy air masses coming up against something called an “Alberta Clipper”. But what exactly is that?

According to the Free-Lance Star, an Alberta Clipper is an upper-level wrinkles in the jet stream are typically winter-time phenomena, which move quickly and are moisture-starved. The cold air and wind from the Jet Stream move south out of Canada, hence “Alberta” and the winds come through that wrinkle fairly quickly, hence “clipper”.

Quick moving disturbances, Alberta Clippers can bring in cold air and low temperatures very quickly. Virginia temperatures have been below freezing for many days in January and February may not be much warmer. To be prepared, stay up on local weather and temperature by linking into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at www.noaa.gov or check out the local weather at www.weather.com.