Snowpack levels in North and South Thompson watersheds below normal

The North Thompson high-elevation snowpack is at 86 per cent of normal

Cam Fortems – Kamloops This Week

While Interior valleys have received dumps of snow and cold temperatures, the latest snow survey shows both the North and South Thompson watersheds with below-normal precipitation.

B.C.’s river forecast centre released its snow survey bulletin last week for levels as of Feb. 1, with snowpacks in the Kamloops region and across much of B.C. trending lower than average.

The North Thompson high-elevation snowpack is at 86 per cent of normal, while the South Thompson snowpack is at 87 per cent of normal. Only one watershed in B.C., the Nechako up north, at 101 per cent, is above normal for this time of year.

Typically, two-thirds of winter snowfall has accumulated by Feb. 1.

The centre said the recent numbers indicate no region of B.C. appears at risk from flooding during the spring freshet. Nonetheless, it noted flooding can be triggered by rain and extended warm spells even in lower snowpack years.

“With two to three months remaining in the snow accumulation season, changes to the seasonal runoff are possible, but at this stage would require extremely wet conditions to make a significant impact on season flood risk,” the centre said.

Statistics provided by the river forecast centre show that only on one occasion — in 2011 as of Feb. 1  — have snowpacks in either regional watershed been lower since 2010. The level in the North Thompson was 82 per cent of normal in that year.

Three B.C. watersheds — Boundary, Stikine and Liard — are below 60 per cent of normal for this time of year.


Of course, since the Feb. 1 measurement, the Lower Mainland and parts of Vancouver Island have received record-setting snowfall amounts, and another storm hit the region on Wednesday, Feb. 8.