The intense, variable weather patterns across the province over the past three months have affected snow conditions in all locations. While early winter storms brought heavy snow to the north, the southern parts of the province remained generally dry until mid-December, when further storms resulted in substantial snow
accumulations in the Interior valleys and at sea level on Vancouver Island and in the South Coast.
These variable weather patterns have resulted in equally variable snow conditions across B.C.:
* Vancouver Island, the South Coast, the Lower Fraser, southern portions of the mid-Fraser and the South Interior (Okanagan, Similkameen, Kettle, Nicola and Kootenay basins) have below-normal snowpacks, ranging between 60-75 per cent of normal range.
* In the Central Interior, including the Upper Fraser, Nechako, North Thompson, and northern portions of the mid-Fraser, snowpacks are normal, falling within 90-110 per cent of normal range.
* In the north (Peace, Skeena, Liard, Stikine), snowpacks are well above normal, generally in the 110-140 per cent of normal range.
Water Supply Outlook:
The mountain snowpack stores precipitation in winter, acting as our natural reservoir. Come spring and summer, these accumulations will melt and be released into rivers, lakes and groundwater.
On average, close to two-thirds of the winter’s snowpack was already accumulated by Feb. 1. However, Environment Minister Barry Penner notes that with two more winter months to go, snow conditions could still
change before the spring melt.
The above-normal snowpacks in some portions of northern B.C., such as the Skeena, Nass, Stikine and Liard basins, may result in higher than normal streamflows during the May-June freshet.
For additional information, including a summary of snow pillow data and conditions, and graphs of snow-water equivalents, log on to www.env.gov.bc.ca/rfc/river_forecast/bulletin.htm.
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