Kootenay snow pack 90 per cent of normal

Despite a drier than normal January and February, snow pack levels in the Kootenays remain 89 to 90 per cent of normal.

  • Mar. 14, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Carolyn Grant

Despite a drier than normal January and February, snow pack levels in the Kootenays remain 89 to 90 per cent of normal. This information is according to the latest snow survey from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operation’s River Forecast Centre.

Additionally, though snow levels are down from high years in 2011 and 2012, they are higher than levels were in 2009 and 2010 when levels were recorded at 75 per cent of normal.

The report states that February had wetter than normal conditions on Vancouver Island and in the South Coast, Upper Fraser, North Columbia, South Coast and Lower Fraser. However the southern portion of the interior of the province had drier than normal conditions.

Overall, monthly average temperatures were typically plus two degrees above normal through most areas of the province, and some stations in northern B.C. (e.g. Chetwynd, Mackenzie, Atlin) reached monthly average temperatures that were six to eight degrees above normal.

Due to frontal weather systems that occurred through February, snow basin indices increased through the Upper Fraser, Middle Fraser, South Thompson and Peace regions. Due to drier conditions in southern B.C., snow basin indices decreased in the Similkameen and Kootenay. March 1 snow basin indices are near normal (90-110 per cent) through the majority of the province. In the Okanagan-Kettle, South Thompson and South Coast, snow basin indices are moderately elevated (110-115 per cent). Snow basin indices are slightly below normal (90 per cent) in the Nechako, Middle Fraser, Similkameen and Skeena-Nass basins.

As far as flooding is concerned, the River Forecast Centre expects a normal freshet through most of the province.

By this date, the report says, generally about 80 per cent of the annual B.C. snow pack has accumulated.

At this point there are some indications of an increased likelihood of wetter and cooler weather over the remainder of the snow accumulation season, including a forecasted wetter storm cycle through mid-March.

This suggests that a modest increase in snow pack levels is likely through the remainder of the season.

However given that we are in the latter stages of the accumulation season, the development of very heavy snow packs is unlikely for most regions of the province, and would require significant and persistent storm cycles to occur.