Dear Tom,
What is an Alberta Clipper and why is it so named?
Thanks, Richard Dreger, Batavia

Dear Richard,

An Alberta Clipper is a fast-moving storm originating in western Canada that speeds southeast into the Plains and Midwest, on a northwesterly jet stream. Because these storms develop in an area characterized by low temperatures and little moisture, the snow has a low water content usually in the snow/water ratio range of 20:1. The storms are frequently accompanied by strong winds and poor visibility and are followed by falling temperatures. The storm generally produces an intense, but short-duration snowfall of less than six inches. The term Alberta Clipper came into use in the early 1970s after the publication of a paper on Midwest snowstorms by the chief of the Milwaukee weather office, Bill Harms, and premier-snow forecaster, Al Morrison.