Alberta Clippers

The winter season can produce a number of different types of storms. Recently, Alberta Clippers have been dominating the forecast in the eastern United States.

An Alberta Clipper is a fast moving winter storm system that originates in the Canadian Rockies, specifically in the province of Alberta.  Once formed, these storms tend to get caught up in the jet stream and travel southeast across the US.  Alberta Clippers, unlike nor’easters, usually do not produce large amounts of snow.  Moving quickly over land, they generally lack significant moisture.  Clippers are, however, known for their strong winds and cold temperatures.

This type of storm system takes its name not only from its place of origin, but also from the clipper ships of the 19th century – the early days of meteorology.  Back then, clippers were the fastest sailing ships of the time.


Image Credit: NOAA