Melting, especially at the low- to mid-level in the southern Interior, has been well ahead of schedule while the bulletin warns that limited runoff across Vancouver Island, the south coast and Lower Fraser regions could create low flow issues in rivers this summer. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Low B.C. snowpacks reduce flood risk, hike chance of summer droughts

The River Forecast Centre will issue another update on the flood risk forecast May 22

Snowpacks across British Columbia are below normal this year, reducing the likelihood of flooding but raising the spectre of dry conditions this summer.

The River Forecast Centre has released its latest Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin showing the average of all mountain snowpacks in B.C. is calculated at just 79 per cent of normal.

The northwest, Vancouver Island, Nicola and Similkameen regions have snowpacks below 60 per cent of normal.

The Skagit, which lies along the United States border between Hope and Princeton, has a snowpack level of just 15 per cent of normal, while the report says no regions in B.C. have above normal snow levels.

READ MORE: Watering restrictions in effect May 1 in Metro Vancouver

Melting, especially at the low- to mid-level in the southern Interior, has been well ahead of schedule while the bulletin warns that limited runoff across Vancouver Island, the south coast and Lower Fraser regions could create low flow issues in rivers this summer.

It also flags the well-below normal snowpack in the northwest and Stikine regions as an indication for the potential for low seasonal runoff.

Although the unseasonably early snowmelt pattern and skimpy overall snowpacks could affect river levels in July and August, the immediate forecast likely offers some relief to Okanagan and southern B.C. communities ravaged by floods last spring.

“At this stage in the season there is no elevated flood risk present in the current snowpack across the province,” the report states.

The peak freshet season is due to arrive in watersheds, including the Kettle River through Grand Forks, Mission Creek near Kelowna and the Similkameen River around Princeton, within the next week or two.

The centre offers the caution that usually wet conditions across B.C. in May and June could quickly alter its predictions.

“Weather during the freshet season also plays a key role, and flooding is possible in years with near normal or low snowpack,” the report says.

“In areas with low snowpack, key flood risks shift towards heavy precipitation events, either short-duration events or prolonged periods of wet weather.”

Heavy rains could extend the flood season in the Rockies and northeast into July, the report says, although it also notes that seasonal forecasts from Environment Canada are currently calling for a period of warmer weather across British Columbia.

The River Forecast Centre will issue another update on the flood risk forecast May 22.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Famous skateboard residence goes up for sale in Maple Ridge

Kyle Dion’s house on Stoney Avenue has a backyard feature few others can boast

Maple Ridge sprinter earns track scholarship to TWU

Alina Olson broke the MRSS record in the 100 m dash last season

Being Young: A strange little concept called hope

One generation consistently cries out to the others, ‘you have it easier than me.’

MRSS cheer team to compete against world’s best

The squad will represent Canada at the 2020 World School Cheerleading Championships in Orlando

Going Green: House, I’m looking at you

‘Change the place you live by changing how you get around.’

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Most Read