The snowpack in much of British Columbia is below normal levels, according to the latest provincial data.
The April 1 Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin, released on April 12, showed the average of all snow sites across the province is 88 per cent of the normal levels. In March, the provincial average had been 94 per cent of normal levels.
Areas with above-normal snow levels were the Upper Fraser West region and the Boundary, Okanagan and Nicola regions.
The Upper Fraser West snow basin had 111 per cent of its normal snow level, the Boundary basin was at 120 per cent of normal, the Okanagan was at 113 per cent of normal and the Nicola basin was at 109 per cent of normal.
While the Middle Fraser basin was at 89 per cent of normal levels, the measurements varied widely. The Bridge region had a snow pack of 68 per cent of normal, but the Chilcotin region was at 241 per cent of normal.
Weather conditions played a factor in the snow measurements, as March was cooler and drier than usual. Only a few climate stations in coastal areas recorded more than 50 per cent of normal precipitation levels for the month. Penticton recorded 1.8 millimetres of precipitation in March. This is the second-lowest recorded precipitation for the month since 1908.
Most regions within the province saw a decrease in the snowpack compared to the March 1 measurements.
A year earlier, the April 1, 2022 snow measurement around the province was 99 per cent of normal levels.
Although British Columbia’s snow levels are below normal in most areas, the risk of flooding is still a concern, according to the snow survey report.
“Rivers are at risk for flooding even if the snowpack is below normal,” the report stated. “The weather conditions during spring play a critical role in the rate at which the snow melts.”
A gradual warming with dry conditions will lessen the flood risk, while a lengthy cold period with high precipitation, followed by a sudden heat wave, could lead to catastrophic conditions.
Regions with above-normal snow levels have a higher risk for flooding than those with lower-than-normal levels.
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