What is an Alberta clipper? - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

What is an Alberta clipper?

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The first "real" snow storm of the season is coming in fast Friday night. The storm won't drop much for snowfall, due to the type of the storm, known as an "Alberta clipper".

A clipper system is a fast moving snow storm that moves in from northern or western Canada. They usually bring a quick burst of snow, followed by colder weather behind them.

The term "clipper" is an homage to a type of fast sailing ship from the mid-1800's. Clippers were well known for their speed. The Alberta portion of the name comes from the fact that these storms usually form in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Alberta clippers typically do not drop much snow, for a few reasons. First, these storms originate in an area of cold, dry air, which leads to clippers not having much moisture to work with, and producing light, fluffy snow. The speed of the storm means they arrive quickly, but don't hang around long enough to drop a ton of snow. They are in and out quickly, giving us light amounts of snow.

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