British Columbia’s snow pack levels were near normal according to the June 1 figures, with a provincial average of 107 per cent across all snow measurements.
This is an increase from the May 15 records, which showed an average of 103 per cent of normal.
Data was released from the BC River Forecast Centre. The snow data was gathered from 16 manual snow courses and 86 automated snow weather stations around the province.
Measurements around the province varied widely, from a low of 48 per cent of normal in the Boundary region to a high of 275 per cent of normal in the Stikine. The Okanagan recorded 52 per cent of normal, while the Fraser region sites ranged from 81 to 149 per cent of normal.
Northern areas of the province remain above normal as of June 1, including Upper Fraser East, Nechako, Skeena-Nass, Stikine, Central Coast and Peace. Above normal snow pack this late in the season indicates a slightly delayed snow melt compared to average, especially at higher elevations, and does not mean additional snow accumulated in May. Below normal snow for June 1 indicates a relatively early melt, which was especially noticeable this year at lower and mid-elevations.
The overall snow basin index for the entire Fraser River basin is 111 per cent of normal, up from the May 15 figure of 104 per cent of normal.
By June 1, around half of the accumulated snow pack has melted on average. Due to several periods of very warm temperatures during spring, snow melt rate has been slightly higher than normal this year. The overall snow pack at all automated snow weather stations has dropped 60 per cent by June 1 from the peak snow accumulation.
Snow melt measurements from automated snow weather stations during the first week of June indicate extremely rapid melt from very warm temperatures and heavy rain on melting snow. Over the weekend of June 5 and 6, a rapid drop in temperatures resulted in a light dusting of snow at many automated snow weather stations.
Based on the June 1 Snow Basin Indices, above normal snow pack existed for Upper Fraser East, Nechako, Quesnel, Lower Fraser, Upper Columbia, Similkameen, Central Coast, Peace, Skeena-Nass and Stikine; this indicates a continued risk for high freshet flows.
During the first week of June, high streamflow advisories were issued for many of these regions due to snow melt and rainfall. This also included areas that had higher elevation snow remaining such as the North Thompson, East Kootenay, and West Kootenay. Flood warnings were issued in the Stikine and Skeena due to very high flows.
Most of the larger stream systems with significant watershed area at high elevations have peaked and are unlikely to reach these high flows from snow melt alone.
The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor snow pack conditions and will provide the final seasonal flood risk forecast in the June 15 bulletin, which is scheduled for release on Monday, June 21.
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