Many meteorologists make mention of “clipper” systems throughout the winter seasons, as they are quite common for the Twin Tiers area and the Northeastern United States. But what is a clipper system?

Formerly known as an “Alberta Clipper” these systems are just what they sound like, systems originating in the province of Alberta, Canada.

An Alberta Clipper is defined as a fast-moving low-pressure system which generally affects the central provinces of Canada as well as portions of the upper Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeastern United States region. These systems are usually associated with a sudden drop in temperatures and sharp winds.

Alberta clippers again take their names from Alberta, the Province from which they appear to originate from. The phase “Clipper” has a much more unique origin. “Clipper” comes from the 19th century, representing one of the fastest ships at the time, since Alberta Clippers are known for their fast speeds across the county.