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Low snowpack could mean a dry Okanagan summer

April 10, 2015 - 4:34 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Current snowpack levels suggest the Okanagan could be in for a dry year, while the South Thompson should fair better.

According to Tobi Gardner with the River Forecast Centre, snowpack is at 76 per cent of normal in the Okanagan — the lowest in five years.

“What that translates to is a lower than normal flood risk for the region,” Gardner says.

Meanwhile, it also means there’s higher potential for low water levels this summer.

The outlook is worse in other parts of B.C., like Vancouver Island, which is at just 15 per cent of its normal snowpack, and the South Coast, at 13 per cent, but not so bad in areas like the North and South Thompson, both over 90 per cent of normal.

Province-wide, snowpack readings are the second lowest in the last 30 years.

Temperatures in March were well above normal across B.C. and Environment Canada is predicting a high likelihood the trend will continue from April to June.

Spring runoff in the Okanagan is about 4 to 6 weeks ahead of schedule, Gardner says, and that could have an impact later on for the region’s water supplies. Given snow conditions around the province, it would take extreme weather to change the outlook. 

“It’s one of those wait and see things, dependent on if we get some episodes of extreme weather,” Gardner says.

Visit the River Forecast Centre for more information.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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