KAMLOOPS – A cool, wet April in southern B.C. for the month of April meant a higher snowpack, saturated ground and an increased risk for flooding.
The B.C. River Forecast Centre calls the precipitation in southern B.C. last month extreme, especially in the South Thompson, Okanagan and Kootenay regions.
Precipitation was between 150 to 300 percent of normal, making April one of the wettest on record, according to the Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin. A trend that started in February. The ground is saturated in many areas meaning rivers and streams are filling faster when there’s rain or significant snowmelt entering the waterways.
The region has also been measurably cooler than normal for April — between 1.5 to 5 degrees cooler.
Due to the cooler, wetter weather the Okanagan snowpack was 147 per cent of normal as of May 1, the highest in the province when the survey was completed. It was followed closely by the Similkameen, which was at 146 per cent above normal.
In most others areas in central southern B.C. snowpack levels were also elevated, though not to such an extent. The Boundary region was at 121 per cent of normal levels while the North Thompson basin was at 112 per cent and the South Thompson was at 115 per cent. The average for the province is now around 118 per cent normal, up from 98 per cent at the end of March.
The cooler weather has delayed the snow melt period by an estimated two weeks in many regions, which meant it started last week for many areas. Significant amounts of snow remained in elevations above 1,500 metres, as of May 1.
With extremely wet weather through the spring in southern B.C., most rivers are flowing well above normal for early May, including extreme flows and flood conditions in areas of the Middle Fraser, South Thompson, Okanagan, Similkameen and Boundary, the report states.
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