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BLOG: ‘Alberta Clippers’ Figure In Winter Forecast

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Snow 2.5.13
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By CBS 3 Weather Team

The CBS3 weather team has been talking a lot this week about “Alberta Clippers.”

These types of weather systems occur often during the winter months but usually don’t bring much snow. They get their name from the location where they originate, (Alberta, Canada), and from a type of ship (a clipper, built during the 1800s). The clipper was a merchant vessel designed to carry small cargo at high speeds over long distances. An Alberta Clipper, therefore, quickly carries small amounts of moisture from Canada and usually exits off the Mid-Atlantic coast. As this meager area of low pressure sweeps southeast, it can produce a coating to 3 inches of snow over a large area.

The Philadelphia region has seen several Clippers since last Thursday, but despite the recent activity, the total snowfall amount from these systems added up to just under an inch. As we head into Wednesday, high pressure will settle in and sunshine will return. Along with the brighter conditions also comes milder temperatures, and we will climb into the 40s on both Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, we are watching carefully because a larger system may ride up the coast and combine with a Clipper to the north. There may be too much warm air in place for us to see snow, but parts of New England could receive a significant amount. As of now, we are forecasting rain in Philadelphia on Friday, but stay with us because that could change.

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