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Snow levels below normal in the Okanagan and Nicola regions

Despite lower snow packs, province warns of possibility of spring flooding
While the snow pack levels are above normal in much of the province, the Okanagan and Nicola regions remain lower than normal, according to the May 1, 2022 statistics. (B.C. River Forecast Centre)

While the snowpack levels in much of the province are at or above normal levels, the Okanagan and the Nicola regions are significantly lower than normal.

According to the latest statistics from the B.C. River Forecast Centre, the snow level in the Okanagan was 83 per cent of the normal level on May 1. On April 1, it was 74 per cent of normal. In addition to the provincial figures, May 1 measurements taken by the Municipality of Summerland also showed snow levels well below normal, with one site at just 50 per cent of the normal amount for this time of year.

READ ALSO: Summerland snowpack well below normal levels

READ ALSO: Snowpack below normal in Okanagan

The snow level in the Nicola region was 79 per cent of normal on May 1, and 69 per cent of normal on April 1.

The Boundary region is at 100 per cent of normal and the Similkameen region was at 108 per cent of normal as of May 1.

Provincewide, the snowpack is at 113 per cent of normal, compared to 99 per cent of normal on April 1.

However, while the snowpack is below normal in the Okanagan, flooding is still possible, according to the report.

“Every region is at risk for flooding, even if the snowpack is below normal. The weather conditions during spring play a critical role in the rate at which the snow melts,” the report states. “Flood risk has increased considerably due to colder April temperatures across the province and delayed snowmelt. Continued cool weather in May is increasing the risk for major flooding if a prolonged heat wave occurs later in the month or June.”

April temperatures were below normal throughout the province, and Penticton, in the South Okanagan, recorded its fourth coldest April on record. Temperature records have been recorded there since 1907.

Flooding is also possible in some areas of the province, including the Similkameen, because of the catastrophic floods in November.

The destruction from the 2021 wildfire season has also affected some streams, rivers and lakes, making them more susceptible to flooding.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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