Snowpacks in the North Thompson and South Thompson basins are right about historical norms as of Feb. 1, while snowpacks across B.C. are at or slightly above normal depths.
Those measurements are vastly different from one year ago, when much deeper snowpacks led to warnings of signifcant flooding in the spring, though such events did not occur.
The Feb. 1 snow survey from the River Forecast Centre (the data was released this week) includes information from 100 manual snow courses and 88 automated snow weather stations around the province.
Snow levels range from a low of 79 per cent of normal in Skagit (along the B.C./Washington satte border, east of Hope) to a high of 126 per cent of normal in the South Coast. While Skagit now has the lowest snowpack in B.C., it had the highest exactly one year ago, at 136 per cent of normal.
In the Kamloops region, the two basins are in the normal snowpack territory (90 per cent to 110 per cent of historical averages). The North Thompson snowpack depth is at 100 per cent of normal measurements, while the South Thompson is at 105 per cent. Both are down from Jan. 1 data, which had the North Thompson at 101 per cent and the South Thompson at 113 per cent.
A year ago, the South Thompson basin’s snowpack was second-greatest in the province, relative to normal amounts, at 130 per cent. The North Thompson was at 119 per cent of normal. Provincewide, the snowpack is 111 per cent of normal, almost identical to the 110 per cent mark a year ago.
The River Forecast Centre noted the snowpack has been built up by a stormy and snowy first half of January, though conditions have been relatively dry since. January also saw temperatures abive normal, from 0.5 C to 5 C above normal, depending on locations in B.C.
By early January, nearly two-thirds of the annual B.C. snowpack has typically accumulated
Interestingly, warmer than normal readings in January were recorded in northern B.C., while Vancouver Island experienced lowest temperarures, compared to normal data.
Seasonal weather forecasts from January 31, 2021 by Environment and Climate Change Canada indicate an increased likelihood of colder than normal temperatures from February through April for the northern half of the province, and near normal temperatures for the southern portion of B.C. There is an increased likelihood of higher than normal precipitation for the entire province from February through April. These forecasts hint at continued snow accumulation into the start of spring, and thus the possibility of delayed snowmelt.