Central Okanagan  

Snow pack below normal

As the temperatures warm and spring approaches, the focus switches from how much more snow can we expect? to how much snow was left behind?

According to the the BC River Forecast Centre the snow basin indices across the province are currently ranging from a low of 52 per cent of normal on Vancouver Island, to a high of 137 per cent of normal in the Liard and Upper Fraser.

Most regions of the province have normal to slightly below normal snow pack, including the Okanagan which currently sits between 93 and 94 per cent.

“Things are tracking more or less near normal. The March 1, 2014 readings were the last ones done and they were sitting at 93-94 per cent of normal into the Okanagan basin,” explained David Campbell, Head of the BC River Forecast Centre for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

When the BC River Forecast Centre refers to 'normal' they are referring to an average snow pack level amount that was determined over the last 30 years.

“When it comes to the basin we look at the basin index. We will use a number of individual sites within the area and we have done that historically and we can compare to different years. So the 'normal' is what the average has been for the last 30-years,” said Campbell.

He says that although the Okanagan's numbers are slightly below average, they are close to normal and not a concern.

“It is pretty close to normal so in terms of a flood risk perspective it is a good thing. There is not really any indication that we have an increased risk of flooding this spring,” said Campbell.

“If you are looking at water supply, which is an important factor in the Okanagan particularly, we are a little bit on the dry side of things but I wouldn't call it low, it is on the normal side of things. In terms of water supply we are expecting to see normal flows going into the summer.”

Approximately 80 per cent of the annual snowpack has been accumulated by early March, and with another 6-8 weeks still left in the accumulation season, Campbell believes there won't be any unexpected changes in current conditions.

“There is still some time for things to change and for more snow pack to accumulate but in terms of what we are seeing in the weather forecast there is nothing dramatic coming down the pipeline.”


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