The higher elevation melt is getting underway as rivers such as Mark Creek in Kimberley are running faster. Paul Rodgers file

The higher elevation melt is getting underway as rivers such as Mark Creek in Kimberley are running faster. Paul Rodgers file

Snow packs down just below normal in East and West Kootenay

The West Kootenay in particular had below normal precipitation in April

Snow packs in the East and West Kootenays are just under normal, at 94 and 91 per cent respectively, according to the latest report from the River Forecast Centre.

Perhaps of more concern for the coming fire season is that the West Kootenay experienced well below normal precipitation (40 to 60 per cent) in April. The East Kootenay was relatively normal in terms of precipitation (85 to 115 per cent).

In mid-April, a strong high-pressure ridge formed across the entire province, resulting in many locations measuring maximum daily temperatures records for the date. This very warm weather initiated the snowmelt season, particularly for watersheds at lower and mid-elevations. The BC River Forecast Centre issues advisories and warnings in the Cariboo, Chilcotin Plateau, Bonaparte River and Prince George area. Due to very warm temperatures in December and January, there was below normal seasonal snowpack at lower elevations, which lessened the intensity of river flows from the initial heat wave.

Many regions also dropped from above normal snowpack on April 1st to normal or slightly below normal snowpack on May 1st because of snowmelt stemming from the mid-month warm weather. Regions with relatively high snowpack may still be susceptible to snowmelt-related flooding, including the Upper Fraser East, Central Coast, Stikine, Northwest and Northeast. In the South Interior, spring flooding is still a possibility through a combination of rapid snowmelt and rainfall, or intense rainfall alone.

By early May, 100 per cent of the annual snow pack has usually accumulated, although higher elevations can continue to grow into May.

READ: Snow packs in the Kootenays remain close to normal 



carolyn.grant@kimberleybulletin.com

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