Watching the Rivers
Prince George, B.C.- The latest report on the snowpack indicates the snowpack in the Upper Fraser west was 120% of normal for June 1st, while the Nechako was 107% above normal for this time of the year.
That’s not to say there is increased risk of flooding, rather that the numbers should be viewed as an indication on the progress of the melt says David Campbell of the River Forecast Centre..
While the warm temperatures in May saw the level of the Fraser at South Fort rise, that river hit a high of 8.4 meters on the weekend and has since receded to 7.2 meters.
That’s not to say the flood danger is over, as continuing warm temperatures and significant rainfall could combine to increase the level of the Fraser before this freshet is over.
“We are starting to see in most, if not all, areas of the province, even with the warm weather of the past few days, that influence of snowmelt is starting to decline and we are seeing declining flood risk through most of the province” says Campbell.
It is the Okanagan which is being hit hard this year.
In that region, the snowpack was 228% of normal, and inflows to lakes in that area from March to the end of May are 226% of normal, about 10% higher than they have been in 96 years.
The Okanagan situation is being compounded by a high snowpack and extreme hot temperatures which triggered a rapid snowmelt resulting in very high freshet flows. But Campbell says the hot weather should ease over the next coupe of days and that should reduce the risk of flooding.
“Rain really is going to be the big driver going forward” says Campbell “In the near term there is some rain coming at us” says Campbell who says the Peace Region, and some areas of northern B.C. “Are at risk of fairly high rainfall amounts that may pose some flood risks for those regions for the remainder of this week and over the weekend, we will be watching that closely and updating advisories associated with that.”