Snow near the Coquihalla summit. (Contributed)

Snow near the Coquihalla summit. (Contributed)

Okanagan sees highest January snowpack levels in eight years

The Okanagan snow basin is up 132 per cent of normal levels

Although it may have seemed like a warm winter, it has been anything but a dry one.

The snowpack in the mountains of the Okanagan and Similkameen are both higher than last year’s levels according to the Ministry of Environment Snow Survey Program’s Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin.

The Okanagan snow basin is sitting with the highest snow pack levels in the province, with 132 per cent of the normal snow value as of Jan. 1, 2021 — up from the 91 per cent of normal levels seen with 2020’s snowpack.

The Similkameen snow basin has also grown compared to 2020, going from 75 per cent of the normal value to 97 per cent.

READ MORE: Snow levels above yearly average at Summerland sites

The normal snowpack is based on the last 20 years of snowfall and accumulation, which shifted to 1991-2020 from 1981-2010 for this most recent report.

The early snow and cold weather in October helped get the snowpack levels off to an early start, before slowing down to normal levels through November and December.

By early January, nearly half of the annual B.C. snow pack has typically accumulated, with three months left for more snow to gather.

READ MORE: Snowfall in Okanagan breaks records dated back to 1899

This year, the weather conditions for snow have been favourable due to the La Nina wind and temperature patterns, which bring colder, wetter air across B.C. when they occur.

Forecasts from the Climate Prediction Centre are estimating a 95 per cent chance that La Nina will continue through to March, and then a 50 per cent chance of lasting through April and May.

However, unlike normal La Nina conditions, the warmer than normal conditions are expected to continue through March, alongside the normal higher levels of precipitation.

Historically, when La Nina has lasted into spring, it has come with increased risk of freshet flooding.

In 2018, snowpack levels at this time of year in the Similkameen snow basin were at 141 per cent of the normal levels, and that year saw significant flooding and evacuation alerts issued.

The Okanagan’s snowpack levels are the highest they have been in the last eight years.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Snow

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

Just Posted

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

A petition to spare the Mount Rose Swanson area from logging later this year has eclipsed 21,000 signatures as of Jan. 20, 2021. (Rose Swanson Mountain/Facebook)
Controversial logging will cut 4% of ‘sensitive’ Armstrong forest area: Ministry

A petition to spare the Rose Swanson area from logging has eclipsed 21,000 signatures

Vernon firefighters douse a fire inside a cardboard bin behind the Shops at Polson off Highway 6 Wednesday, Jan. 20. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Dumpster fire behind Vernon shopping mall

Vernon Fire Rescue Services respond doused recycling bin fire backing onto Polson Park

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read