What’s a Clipper?

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A series of clippers lined up, producing snow for the first few weeks of February. So for many of them, meteorologists here at FOX 8, just numbered them as clipper one, clipper two, and so on.

A bit confusing for the public, who is not familiar with name “Alberta Clipper.” So, where does the name come from? And why are they called Alberta Clippers?

The name is a description of the storm and its place of origin.

Let’s break it down:

Alberta is where the storm forms; Alberta is a providence located on the lee side of the Canadian Rockies, just north of Montana. The word clipper describes the storm, and it was named after a very fast sail boat from the 19th century called Clipper. The ships were fast, narrow, and carried limited cargo, similar to the storms coming off the Alberta.

That’s why they got the name Alberta Clipper.

An Alberta Clipper: It’s a low pressure system that crosses the Rockies becoming a much weaker storm, carrying very cold air, limited moisture, and strong winds. Typically Alberta Clippers are known for dumping between 1-3 inches of snow from the plains to the Midwest and Great Lakes.

Alberta Clippers are commonly called clippers, and sometimes they can strengthen and produce areas of heavier snow as they run into the moisture over the Great Lakes; specially, if the system slows down, ample available moisture, or if it gets mixed with some lake effect

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