Snowpack Up in Nechako Basin
Prince George, B.C. – The cool wet April has had an impact on the snowpack in the Nechako Basin.
The River Forecast Centre’s Snow Survey bulletin indicates that as of May 1st, the snowpack in the Nechako Basin was 109% of normal. Upper Fraser West region was at 98% of normal, and 78% in the Upper Fraser East. While that reduces the risk of flooding, it increases the risk of low flows in the summer.
While the River Forecast Centre continues a flood watch for the Salmon River to the south, there is some good news in that water levels in that river are receding. However, the Centre says there is a potential for additional rainfall throughout the BC Interior later this week, and a re-emergence of high flow conditions is likely.
In addition to the Salmon River, water may rise throughout the Shuswap Region, Boundary, and the South east including small streams and rivers around Castlegar, Kaslo, Nelson, Salmo, Creston, Cranbrook and surrounding areas.
Closer to home, the Fraser River at South Fort George climbed to 6.75 meters at South Fort yesterday and is receding, while the Nechako River has been rising. The Nechako at Isle Pierre was flowing at 297 cubic meters per second today.
The River Forecast Centre notes that while snowpack is an important factor in seasonal flood risk, the weather plays a major role. Flood risk can increase dramatically if there is a major rainfall event, or rapid melt when temperatures climb over a short period of time. The Centre says the extremely wet April , especially in the southern reaches of the province, has left the ground saturated, leaving rivers to carry the full load of water from rainfall or rapid melts.