March 11, 2015 - 8:26 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - If the lack of snow, even at alpine levels, is any indication, we could be in for a very dry year.
The River Forecast Centre is reporting all but two snow basins are below normal as of March 1. The North and South Thompson basins are near-normal at 96 per cent and 91 per cent snow packs, though the Boundary basin drops to 75 per cent, which is considered moderately low.
In the Okanagan and Similkameen areas the snow basins, at 85 and 89 per cent sit at the slightly below normal level. Several coastal regions, including Vancouver Island, Lower Fraser and South Coast basins, are under 40 per cent compared to normal years and are considered to have extremely low snow packs.
Recent temperatures have remained several degrees above seasonal normals and the Southern Interior has received little precipitation since the beginning of February, though above normal amounts were tallied over the course of the month.
The warmer temperatures and snow pack melt led to rivers rising to above normal stream flows as well. The Thompson River basin is between 130 to 170 per cent of normal while the Okanagan basin is at 115 per cent of normal.
The below normal snow packs for the Okanagan, Boundary and Similkameen regions means the seasonal flood risk is below normal while the Thompson River basins are facing normal seasonal flood risk. Even then, the forecast centre notes flooding is always possible during the freshet season, but extreme weather would be required to produce flooding or higher than expected flows.
Environment Canada is forecasting above normal temperatures throughout the province for March through May.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015