What Is a Clipper System in Weather?

A clipper system is a fast-moving, low-pressure system sliding along a track that separates cold air to the north and northeast from warmer air in the south and southwest. Clippers can lower temperatures by as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit in 12 hours or less.

In North America, clipper systems usually originate in Alberta and move across the Great Plains into the U.S. Midwest and the Great Lakes regions. The Alberta clipper gets its name from the Canadian province of Alberta, and the clipper ship of the 19th century. Clipper systems can also bring snow, as well as winds of up to 45 miles per hour, dropping wind-chill values to dangerous levels.