Risk of seasonal flooding

A wet January combined with an above-normal snowpack means the Okanagan could face seasonal flooding this spring.

The River Forecast Centre snow survey indicates the Okanagan snowpack is at 122 per cent of normal for February. Except for the Okanagan and Boundary areas, the rest of the province currently has a near normal or slightly below normal (80-110 per cent) snowpack.

Much of Southern B.C. experienced above-normal precipitation in January, due to El Nino, Environment Canada reports. B.C. usually experiences warmer than normal winter and early spring temperatures during strong El Nino events. In January, temperatures were 3 to 5 C above average.

According to the River Forecast Centre, the snowpack in Southern B.C. is much better than last year. That means there could be the potential for an elevated seasonal flood risk in the Okanagan.

In the North Okanagan, the flood risk could be lower, as below-normal seasonal runoff is forecast in the Kalamalka-Wood basin. To the south, risk increases with above-normal runoff forecast in the Nicola River and Similkameen River systems.

Meanwhile, the Climate Prediction Centre at the U.S. National Weather Service/NOAA is forecasting a high likelihood of El Nino conditions late into spring or early summer.


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