The provincial river forecast centre says Intense or prolonged rainfall and extreme temperatures are important factors that can lead to flooding . (file photo)

Heavy snow packs may contribute to flooding

Snow deposits that feed Columbia, Okangan and Similkameen basins well above normal

Following higher than normal precipitation levels across the Southern Interior in the month of February, snow packs in some areas are higher than normal.

According to the provincial snow survey and water supply bulletin drawn from measurements taken on March 1, the average of all snow measurements taken across the province is 119 per cent of normal; this is a significant increase from the 108 per cent of normal recorded at the start of February.

Related: Warm weather on its way

Snow packs exceeding 130 per cent of normal are present in the areas that feed the Upper Fraser West, Okanagan, Similkameen, Boundary and Skagit basins. The Lower Fraser, South Thompson, Upper Columbia and West Kootenay basins are also experiencing snow packs between 100 and 130 per cent of normal.

The report says the heavy snow packs will lead to an increased season risk of flooding in the Southern Interior and the Kootenays.

Seasonal runoff forecasts are listed as well above normal for parts of the Southern Interior including the Okanagan, Similkameen and Nicola.

“Snow pack is one element of seasonal flood risk during BC’s freshet season. Weather patterns during the snow melt season play a critical role in whether or not flooding occurs. Intense or prolonged rainfall and extreme temperatures are important factors that can lead to flooding, even for areas with a near normal snow pack,” The bulletin reads.

According to the bulletin forecasts indicate temperatures will rise before transitioning to a period of colder and wetter weather towards mid March.


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