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Snow levels significantly below normal across B.C.

Jan. 1 measurements showed 56% of normal levels province-wide

Snow levels in British Columbia are well below normal levels, averaging 56 per cent of its usual marks as of Jan. 1.

A year ago, the Jan. 1 results showed snow levels at 82 per cent of normal levels.

From October to December, temperatures were above normal and precipitation levels were well below normal in much of the province, according to data in the Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin. The bulletin, released on Jan. 10, provides data as of Jan. 1.

The Chilcotin snow basin snowed zero per cent of its normal snowpack, while the Stikine snow basin was at 96 per cent of normal. The Stikine basin was one of two snow basins above 80 per cent of normal levels, and 15 snow stations in the province recorded all-time low measurements.

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The Similkameen region was at 32 per cent of normal levels, the Lower Fraser was at 35 per cent of normal, the South Coast and Lower Thompson regions were both at 36 per cent of normal and Vancouver Island was at 39 per cent of its normal snowpack.

The Okanagan is at 64 per cent of its normal levels, while the Boundary region is at 58 per cent of normal. A year earlier, the Okanagan was at 135 per cent of normal, while the Boundary was at 129 per cent of normal.

Normal is based on the average data at a snow station from 1991 to 2020.

Because of the low snowpack levels, the province’s Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship has raised concerns about a summer drought.

“For the second year in a row, a significant drought extended into the fall for much of the province,” the report states. “Currently, most of the province is well below normal with extremely low snowpack for Jan. 1. This increases the likelihood for drought conditions this summer.”

However, conditions can still change as there are still three or more months left in the snow accumulation in the province.

By early January, nearly half of the annual snowpack in the province has accumulated.

The River Forecast Centre is continuing to monitor snowpack levels and will release its next report in early February.

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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