Snowpack Below Normal for April
Prince George, B.C. – The snowpack in the Upper East and Upper West Fraser and Nechako watersheds is lower than normal for this time of year and that means there is a lower risk of flooding during the freshet.
The latest snowpack data has the Upper East Fraser snowpack at 76% of normal , the Upper West Fraser at 75% of normal and the Nechako at 79% of normal. That should mean a reduced risk of flooding in Prince George, but it all depends on how rapid that snow melts, and if there is any significant rainfall in the next month.
“The risk is still there” says David Campbell lead forecaster with BC’s River Forecast Centre, “but the scenario that concerns me the most for flood potential would be some kind of significant rainfall and May and June are when we usually get that kind of thing so that’s the main thing we are keeping our eyes on for the region.”
With the warm start to April, the transition from snow accumulation to snow melt is two to three weeks earlier than usual this season.
Campbell says at this stage, the spring freshet will likely peak in mid to late May instead of early to mid June .
According to the latest snowpack survey, as of early April “virtually all of the rivers in the province were flowing well above normal for the time of year”.
But an early freshet means the return to low flows in the summer will also happen sooner, and Campbell says that could put pressure on water use and on aquatic habitat.