Unprecedented early snowpack melt possible this year: B.C. River Forecast Centre - InfoNews

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Unprecedented early snowpack melt possible this year: B.C. River Forecast Centre

B.C. River Forecast Centre is predicting an early onset to spring freshet this year.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
April 08, 2019 - 5:00 PM

Snowpack accumulation that ranges from well below normal to normal bodes well for an early spring freshet this year.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre’s April snowpack data is a good indicator of what the overall snowpack is since annual snow accumulation generally reaches maximum levels in mid-April.

All local snow basin indices in the province are below normal as of April 1, while the North Thompson is highest at 89 per cent. The South Thompson sits at 74 per cent of normal while the Okanagan is at 72 per cent. The Nicola and Similkameen are at 66 per cent and 65 per cent, respectively.

Most of this year’s snowpack growth occurred during a five to six-week period from early December to early January.

Cold arctic air and limited precipitation followed from February to early March across most of the province and March turned out to be one of the driest on record, causing most snow basin indices to drop by five to 15 per cent, with some sites actually losing snow to melt following a warmer second half to March.

The warm weather experienced in March resulted in an early start to the spring freshet with mid-elevation snowpacks melting.

The River Forecast Centre is predicting the potential for an extremely early spring melt and freshet, as current conditions typically occur two to six weeks from now.

The centre says the next two to four weeks may be the critical window for freshet for medium sized and mid-elevation rivers across the province, and with low snowpacks throughout the province, there is a good chance for an unprecedented early snowmelt this year.

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