LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — During the winter season, you may notice meteorologists referring to something as an “Alberta clipper.”
But what does that term mean, and how does it affect Michiganders?
The first half of the term gets its name from the western Canadian province of Alberta. The term clipper references one of the fastest ships during the nineteenth century,
An Alberta clipper is a fast-moving, low-pressure system that starts in Alberta and generally moves onto impact central provinces in Canada, the Great Lakes and sometimes the Northeast.
The clippers produce light bursts of snow and rather strong winds.
Alberta clippers are what experts call “moisture-starved,” due to clippers not passing over many large bodies of water on their track.
On average, Alberta clippers usually yield around one to four inches of snow.
Despite light snow, the clippers can have winds ranging from 40 to 60 miles per hour.
The clippers can also cause sudden drops in temperature, as much as 30 degrees in 12 hours.
To see the general track that Alberta clippers follow, watch the video in the player above.