WX MODEL 2: Clipper System


A clipper system is a low pressure system that moves through southern Canada or the northern U.S. in winter. They often initially develop as a lee-side low in the Canadian Rockies and then move toward the east or southeast. They tend to move rather quickly and can move over the Great Lakes region or north of the Great Lakes before exiting this region to the east or northeast.

Clipper systems tend to bring light and moderate snows. Two limiting factors for heavy snow include the quick movement and lack of access to significant moisture. These system will typically bring in a cold front and gusty winds behind the cold front. Thus, blowing snow is common with these systems. Clipper systems can bring rapid changes to the weather.

The image below is that of a clipper system on a surface pressure model depiction. This example is centered over northern Minnesota. The blue colors indicate the system will bring in a moderate snow event. In these events though the snow can be heavy at times and gusty winds can reduce visibility to near zero.