Below normal snowpack means diminished flooding risk in B.C. Interior - InfoNews

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Below normal snowpack means diminished flooding risk in B.C. Interior

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO/Silver Star Mountain Resort via Facebook
March 07, 2017 - 4:30 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - The latest snowpack report from the Ministry of Environment explains why people in the Southern Interior have been wishing for snow on the mountains, but hoping it would go away in town.

This year’s snowpack can be considered “upside-down," according to the monthly snow survey issued by the River Forecast Centre, meaning while there may have been more snowfall at lower elevations, higher elevations have had below normal snowfall rates this winter. 

“This is a result of colder than normal temperatures which have resulted in several low elevation precipitation events occurring as snow rather than rain,” the report said. “However, seasonally dry conditions have resulted in lower than normal snowpack at high elevations despite the colder conditions.”

Most of B.C. saw colder than normal temperatures over the winter months by 1 to 4 degrees.

In February, snowfall amounts were 2 to 8 times higher than normal. The Okanagan has a snowpack 86 per cent of normal as of March 1, while the North and South Thompson regions are at 87 per cent. On average, snowpacks in the province are 85 per cent normal.

Due to the lower than usual amount of snow in the mountains, spring runoff is expected to be low.

“With six to eight weeks remaining in the snow accumulation season changes to the runoff outlook are possible, but at this stage would require extremely wet or cool conditions to make a significant impact on seasonal flood risk,” the report said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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