Southern Interior leads province in snowpack levels


THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - February was unseasonably warm and wet across B.C. leading to an upswing in snowpack levels in most parts of the province, including the Thompson-Okanagan.

El Nino continues to be felt, according to the monthly snowpack report from the B.C. River Forecast Centre, as more rain fell in February. Combined with early melting, this means most rivers are running high and an early spring freshet is predicted.

Both North and South Thompson regions as well as the Boundary region stand near the top of the province with average snow basin measurements ranging from from 111 per cent of normal in the South Thompson to 115 per cent in the North Thompson and Boundary regions.

However, the Okanagan region leads the province with a snowpack at 123 per cent of normal. The Skagit region, which lead the province with 143 per cent of normal during January’s report, has plummeted to 67 per cent of normal just two months later.

The high snowpack in the Okanagan could be an early indication of seasonal flooding, the report says.

Regions to the east (West and East Kootenay, Upper Columbia) and west (Middle and Lower Fraser, Similkameen, South Coast) are all within a few points of normal (100 per cent) or slightly above.

Regions to the north are reporting the lowest snowpack levels with Liard in the far north of the province reporting a snowpack level of just 55 per cent. Vancover Island is also largely below normal.

According to the report, seasonal forecasts from Environment Canada indicate a very good chance of above normal temperatures from March to May and possibly extending through the summer.

Last summer, the Okanagan and Thompson regions endured level four drought conditions, which resulted in water usage and fishing restrictions. 

Image Credit: Government of B.C.

To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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