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Snowpack higher than normal in most of B.C.

B.C. River Forecast Centre warns of increased risk of flooding
The latest provincial snowpack information shows levels well above normal in every area of the province except the Okanagan Valley. The B.C. River Forecast Centre is warning of the risk of flooding this spring. (B.C. River Forecast Centre)

A delayed snow melt, caused by cooler spring temperatures, has resulted in an increased flood risk in much of the province.

The latest snow survey and water supply bulletin, issued by the B.C. River Forecast Centre, showed the snowpack throughout the province is well above normal levels. As of May 15, the average snowpack measurements were 128 per cent of normal, up from 113 per cent of normal on May 1.

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The higher snowpack is not the only factor which could lead to a spring flood. Weather conditions from now until July could also lead to flooding.

“The greatest risk for potential major flooding is if a prolonged heat event occurs in late May or June,” a report from the B.C. River Forecast Centre said.

Except for a short warm period in early May, temperatures since April have been cooler than normal throughout the province. As a result, the snow melt is occurring slower than usual.

In an average year, around 18 per cent of the province’s snowpack has melted by May 15. This year, an estimated 2.6 per cent of the snowpack had melted by May 15.

Forecasts call for cooler temperatures to continue, delaying the snow melt.

While the snowpack levels are higher than normal this year, the measurements vary between regions.

The lowest snowpack in the province is in the Okanagan, at 96 per cent of normal levels. This is higher than the May 1 measurements, which showed the region’s snowpack was at 83 per cent of normal levels.

The region with the highest snowpack level is the central coast, at 152 per cent of the normal levels. This is up from 117 per cent of normal levels on May 1.

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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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