Flood risk continues to drop as snowpacks disappear in Okanagan
The South Thompson River is expected to peak in the next couple of weeks.
(DANA REYNOLDS /InfoTel Multimedia)
June 08, 2015 - 7:33 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - An early melt and a warm, dry May mean there is little to no snow left in many basins around the region, and that means a low flood risk.
The River Forecast Centre says the warm month led to a rapid melt of the snow pack and about half of the province’s snow pillows no longer are showing any snow.
The Okanagan is one of several basins showing zero per cent while the Similkameen region is at 25 per cent. The South Thompson is showing 35 per cent of seasonal normal for the snow basin while the North Thompson is at 57 per cent.
The forecast centre notes while the snow pack levels earlier in the season better represent the overall snow accumulation, and total runoff, for the year. In April the Okanagan was at 75 per cent of normal while the Thompson regions were above 90 per cent.
While the snow pack is low now, the early seasonal melt still contributed to river flow, reservoir and lake filling and soil moisture, just earlier than usual. The river forecasters note what we are seeing now is "more similar to what might be experienced later in the summer in a typical year."
The warm temperatures and the limited snow basins mean the risk of flooding due to snow melt alone is limited though heavy rains, such as what we saw last week, could cause flooding.
Many rivers have reacher their peak levels for the year. The South Thompson River should peak within the next couple of weeks.
Warm weather is expected to continue this month, and Environment Canada is forecasting above-normal temperatures across the province throughout the summer.
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