The BC River Forecast Centre has begun their monthly updates on snow pack depths for the 2022 winter and spring. Data is collected from 51 manual snow course and 86 automated snow weather stations around the province each month.
While snow pack measures vary widely across the province — the Okanagan is at 84 per cent of normal — on average there are above average snow packs across the province at 115 per cent of normal.
There are quite a few areas, such as the Kootenays, where measures are considered above normal, which is over 120 per cent of normal. The West Kootenay snow pack is 125 per cent of normal. It was at 101 per cent at this time last year. The East Kootenay snow pack is at 121 per cent of normal. It was 94 per cent last year in January.
The report say the early season snow pack developed quickly this year because of continual storm systems, beginning as early as mid-September.
There are several snow stations with all-time record highs for this time of year:
• 1C33A Granite Mountain: 140 mm SWE (154% of normal) – period of record 16 years
• 2C14P Floe Lake: 563 mm SWE (163% of normal) – period of record 27 years
• 2D14P Redfish Creek: 810 mm SWE (136% of normal) – period of record 20 years
The Climate Prediction Centre says that there is a high likelihood of continued La Niña conditions for the remainder of the winter. Historically, La Niña conditions create cooler temperatures for British Columbia and wetter weather in the South Coast and Vancouver Island during the winter months. Conditions this year have so far followed this typical La Niña scenario, the report says.
Historically, when winter La Niña conditions exist in British Columbia, the April 1st snow pack is often above normal, particularly for the South Coast and Southern Interior. La Niña conditions that persist into the spring can lead to late-season snow accumulation and delayed snowmelt, which increases the risk for freshet flooding.
Seasonal weather forecasts from late December by Environment and Climate Change Canada indicate an increased likelihood of colder than normal temperatures from January through March for the entire province. There is an increased likelihood of greater than normal precipitation for most of the province for January through March.
By early January, nearly half of the annual B.C. snow pack has typically accumulated.