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Why a Lack of Major Snowfall Amounts So Far in NJ?

A fast-moving low pressure area has given New Jersey several snow events these past two weeks, with barely any accumulations in snow amount.

What is an Alberta Clipper?

An Alberta Clipper is a fast-moving low pressure area which generally affects the central provinces of Canada and parts of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions of the United States. This low pressure area is usually associated with light snow, strong winds, and colder temperatures.

Alberta Clippers originate and descend from Alberta, Canada and move southeastward into the Dakotas and Minnesota, crossing over the Great Lakes, and then toward northeastern United States or southeastern Canada.

Effect on New Jersey

New Jersey’s total recent snowfall accumulation is less than two inches.

The snowfall totals are so low because of the characteristics of an Alberta Clipper. An Alberta Clipper is associated with light snow because there is no significant body of water in its path to pick up and dump a significant amount of snow.

Alberta Clippers are rapidly-moving systems, causing the duration of snowfall to be very short. If the system were to move slower, then there would be an increase in snowfall. Another factor is that colder temperatures can cause a higher snow-to-water ratio.

If an Alberta Clipper reaches the Atlantic Ocean, then the system can intensify by picking up moisture from the Atlantic Ocean, which can dump a significant amount of snow along the east coast.

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