Drought risk up as snowpack melts away

Alpine snow levels down sharply in most B.C. watersheds after warm, dry April

Snow levels are far below normal on the mountains above this South Coast inlet.

A very warm and dry April quickly melted away much of the snowpack in B.C.’s alpine areas, increasing the threat of another summer of drought conditions in parts of the province.

B.C.’s River Forecast Centre says the risk of low stream flows this summer are “elevated” due to very low snowpacks remaining in many regions, including the Upper Fraser, Middle Fraser, Nechako, Similkameen, East Kootenay, Central Coast, Stikine, Skeena, Liard and Northwest.

Its latest report says the snow melt is about three to four weeks ahead of normal in most areas.

The Fraser basin as a whole has 69 per cent of its normal snowpack left – down sharply from 96 per cent or near normal back in early April.

And its considerably worse in some watersheds. The Skagit watershed near Chilliwack has 23 per cent of normal snow, the Similkameen is down to 25 per cent and northwest B.C. watersheds are averaging 12 per cent – record low levels.

Snow is now largely gone from all but the highest elevations in many regions.

Last summer’s record-low snowpack levels ultimately led to severe drought conditions, which forced extreme water sprinkling restrictions in the Lower Mainland, as well as angling closures and a greater risk of wildfires.

This summer, Environment Canada’s seasonal forecasts anticipate above-normal temperatures will be more likely across B.C. from May to July.

Authorities are taking early steps to conserve drinking water supplies.

Metro Vancouver begins its stage 1 lawn sprinkling restrictions on May 15, two weeks earlier than normal.

A stage 2 open burning ban has also been declared in the Coastal Fire Centre region effective May 13 in areas not otherwise regulated by local governments. That includes the Lower Mainland, Sea-To-Sky, Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. Small campfires and campstoves are still allowed. For more info see bcwildfire.ca.

Environment Canada said Thursday parts of eastern B.C. could get haze from the fires burning near Fort McMurray, as smoke from Alberta is carried over the Rockies.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Hedley residents will be without water for at least one week

Elevated levels of coliform and arsenic leave small town dry

Cold case files: Murdered woman still unidentified after 44 years

Penticton RCMP releasing info on historical missing person and found human remains investigations

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Keremeos father son team work long hours to put in ice

The ice will be ready for the first free skate of the season this Friday after the parade

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

Okanagan Valley to see snow tonight

Environment Canada is calling for two-to-four centimetres of snow from Penticton to Salmon Arm

B.C. police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

Being vegan during the holidays just got a little bit better

Cook up these delicious options during the holidays

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Update: Sicamous and Tumbler Ridge neck and neck in the Sled Town Showdown

Both communities in the final round have amassed over 10,000 votes

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

Shuswap girl raises funds in memory of two-year-old who died

Wolter family announces formation of Alice’s Angels bursary in honour of their daughter

Most Read