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Penticton  

Snowpack 'concerning'

Colton Davies

Current snowpack levels in the Okanagan Valley and in the Similkameen are "concerning" for the province's River Forecast Centre.

Data released on Wednesday show the snowpack level to Feb. 1 in the Okanagan is 131 per cent of normal, and in the Similkameen that level is 135 per cent.

Those snowpack levels are much higher than what they were on Feb. 1 last year, when the Okanagan was at 78 per cent and the Similkameen was at 73 per cent. 

"I think we're getting to the time of year where the numbers that we've got are starting to be a little more of a concern," David Campbell said, section head at the River Forecast Centre.

Campbell added 120 per cent of normal is the threshold for where the province starts to get worried of the potential for flooding this time of year.

"Obviously as we get into March or even April 1st, that's probably the benchmark for us to say we've got enough snow now that we can really get that outlook nailed down," he said.

"It's not that we're going to see flooding, it's more that we have the kind of snowpack that it's more likely to happen."

He said snowpack levels in the area likely won't go down by much in the next couple months, adding they're likely to stay close to where they're at.

However, the snowpack level increased "considerably" in late-January in the southern half of the province due to unsettled weather, according to the River Forecast Centre's report.

Campbell said those trends could be problematic if they persist.

"I think the concern is, do we continue to see the trend we're seeing already? Does that carry on for another two to three months? Then I think that would be certainly concerning from a flood perspective."



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