Low stream levels predicted this summer for Southern Interior watersheds - InfoNews

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Low stream levels predicted this summer for Southern Interior watersheds

June 08, 2016 - 1:03 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - The heat of the last few days has sent a lot of what’s left of the province’s snowpack gushing downstream.

It didn’t help the province is already reporting a record low snowpack average of 23 per cent of normal for this time of year based on our extremely warm spring.

May was already a warm month, according to the June 1 snow survey from the B.C. River Forecast Centre, with most survey locations showing a snow water equivalent loss of 150 to 300 milimetres from May 15 to June 1.

In addition, the hot weather earlier this week broke records throughout the Southern Interior and some automated snow weather stations are reporting additional losses of 35 to 75 mm per day.

From a high of 135 per cent of normal earlier this spring, the Okanagan region is now down to 26 per cent of normal. The Similkameen, at eight per cent, and Boundary regions, at 16 per cent, are even worse off.

The North and South Thompson regions are reporting the healthiest snowpack numbers in the province at 69 and 68 per cent of normal.

The forecast centre says the low snowpack numbers are the result of the warm spring, not an accummulation of snow, with half of all observations reporting less than 10 mm of snow melt.

Spring run-off is also three to four weeks ahead of schedule with most rivers having peaked a few weeks ago.

Seasonal forecasts from Environment Canada are showing above normal temperatures for B.C. throughout July and August, the forecast centre says. It predicts greatly reduced stream flows in the low- to mid-elevation watersheds such as those in the Central and Southern Interior.

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