Snowpack Increases in Upper Fraser
Prince George, B.C.- The latest report on the snowpack indicates the Upper Fraser Basin has seen an increase in snow over the past month, but there remains a risk of low flows this summer.
At this time in January, the Upper Fraser West area was at 59% of the norm, and 62% of the normal snowpack in the Upper Fraser East.
The report for February indicates the Upper Fraser West is now 74% of normal snowpack, while the Upper Fraser east has increased slightly to 65%.
The Nechako Basin has also seen an increase, sitting at 101% of normal snowpack compared to the 90% recorded a month ago.
The River Forecast Centre’s monthly report notes well below-normal snowpack (<65%) in the Stikine and Liard, at 57 and 49% respectively, however, those determinations are based on “limited snow measurements”. Unless there is considerable snowfall in those two regions as well as the Upper Fraser over the next couple of months, the areas could see low flows this summer.
As for flood risk, snowpack is just one piece of the puzzle. Rapid high temperatures or prolonged rainy periods can change the situation, but at this point, the River Forecast Centre says ” It would require extremely wet conditions to make a significant impact on seasonal flood risk”.
The seasonal forecasts from Environment Canada indicate near normal temperatures across most of the province this month and through to April.
The River Forecast Centre says at this stage of the season, there is “limited indication that any region of the province is developing increased seasonal flood risk due to high snowpack.”