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Snow basins still high, flood threat low

The Thompson River in Kamloops has dropped about a metre from a seasonal high of nearly 6.5 metres.
June 10, 2014 - 4:48 AM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Recent snow basin numbers show there is a lot more snow than normal in much of our region even though rivers have begun receding throughout the rest of the province.

The North Thompson snow basin now sits at a near normal 101 per cent though the South Thompson sits at 126 per cent. the Okanagan-Kettle snow basin is similar, with a 123 per cent while Similkameen sits at a province-wide high of 167 per cent (down from the 181 per cent recorded in mid-May.)

Hot, dry spells combined with unsettled wet weather throughout May contributed to rapid snow melt at the mid-elevation levels throughout the province and in the Okanagan and Similkameen higher-elevation sites are now what the snow basin levels are based on. Late season snow and slower melts contributed to the higher numbers. The River Forecast Centre notes these high elevations are only a small portion of the watershed area.

The forecast centre reports show the Similkameen region is often near the top of the pack for snow basin percentages at this time of year, though last year it was significantly below normal with just 35 per cent of normal snow basin levels, the lowest in the province.

The Similkameen River is down to 220 cubic metres per second from a season high of more than 450 cubic metres per second in mid-May.

May also brought above average stream flows throughout the province, though only a couple rivers remain in the one in two year flow level range, which indicates a minor risk of flooding.

The forecast centre notes flood risk due to rapid snow melt is unlikely at this point, but is possible if areas receive extreme rainfall. On the South Thompson River and Shuswap Lake, higher elevation snow is still feeding on-going rises and a peak expected by mid-June.

The South Thompson River at Chase still sits within a one in two year flow level, but has dropped from a high last week of 1,030 cubic metres per second, while downstream the Thompson River continues to drop in Kamloops, down about a metre from a season high of nearly 6.5 m. The North Thompson River, under a high streamflow advisory just a couple of weeks ago, has dropped to a flow rate of just under 1,300 cubic metres per second from a season high of nearly 2,300 cubic metres per second.

Mission Creek in Kelowna dropped over the weekend but rose again to more than 30 cubic metres per second flow rate on Monday, though it still sits well below the season high of nearly 45 cubic metres per second.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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