Lowered flood risk with reduced snowpack around the Okanagan

Snowpack is around 97 per cent of normal right now

It doesn’t look like there’s a great likelihood of flooding just yet, with the snowpack averaging just around 97 per cent of normal across the province.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre released its monthly data on provincial snowpacks and noted that the the snow basin as of Feb. 1 ranged from a low of 63 per cent of normal in the Stikine to a high of 114 per cent in the Upper Fraser West. In the Okanagan it’s currently 86 per cent of normal.

Most of this years’ snowpack built up rapidly over a five to six week period from early-December to early-January. Weather into February shifted again into the dominance of Arctic air across the province, with extremely cold temperatures and limited snow accumulation. This pattern is expected to continue at least into the middle of February.

What this means going forward, is still up in the air. However, it looks like the flooding that so many Okanagan residents have grappled with for the last few years has been minimized.

READ ALSO: LAST YEAR’S SNOWPACK WAS SIGNIFICANT

“At this stage in the season there is no significant elevated flood risk present in the current snowpack regionally across the province,” according to the report.

That said, there are other factors.

“While snow is one significant aspect to seasonal flooding in B.C., weather during the freshet season also plays a key role, and flooding is possible in years with normal snowpack.

READ ALSO: HIGH FLOOD RISK

Data from 114 manual snow courses and 78 automated snow weather stations around the province (collected by the Ministry of Environment Snow Survey Program, BC Hydro and partners), and climate data from Environment and Climate Change Canada and the provincial Climate Related Monitoring Program have been used to form the basis of the report.

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