Above normal snowpack in Interior means risk of spring flooding

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

PENTICTON - The latest snowpack data is in and the River Forecast Centre is warning of an increased risk for flooding this spring.

Snowpack levels in the Southern Interior are higher than normal following February’s cold temperatures and high precipitation in most of the region, according to the latest snow survey from the River Forecast Centre. The average for all snow measurements across the province is 119 per cent of normal.

Snowpacks are above normal in the North and South Thompson at 105 per cent and 111 per cent respectively, the Okanagan snowpack is at 141 per cent and the Similkameen snowpack is at 144 per cent.

By way of comparison, last year the February snowpack levels in the Okanagan were running at around 86 per cent of average, while the North and South Thompson regions were at 87 per cent, with the average for the province at 85 per cent.

The River Forecast Centre anticipates snowpack levels to continue to increase throught the spring as temperatures return to normal across the region.

As 80 per cent of the annual B.C. snowpack historically accumulates by early March, the high snow levels being experienced this year indicate an increased risk for flooding this spring, the report says.

The centre is forecasting well above normal seasonal runoff volumes for the Okanagan and Similkameen this spring, with near-normal runoffs projected for the Thompson basin.

However, the report notes snowpack is just one component of spring flood risk, as spring weather patterns will also play a critical role in the potential for flooding in the region.

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