Okanagan snowpack above average, as waterways run high

Coldstream Creek is running high. Megan Turcato / Global News

The latest data from B.C.’s River Forecast Centre shows the Okanagan’s snowpack continues to be above average.

The bulletin, released Friday, said on May 1 snowpack in the Okanagan was sitting at 110 per cent of what’s normal for this time of year.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Mill Creek waters recede, flooded residents assess damage

That additional melting snow can help swell local waterways during the spring melt, but the River Forecast Centre cautioned that elevated snowpack doesn’t automatically mean flooding.

Temperatures, which dictate how quickly the snow melts, and precipitation also play a big role.

READ MORE: Flood preparedness as some rivers, creeks put on high streamflow advisories in B.C.’s Southern Interior

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Forecasters were also expecting this weekend’s hot weather to start melting snow at higher elevations provincewide.

However, the forecast center also said it did not expect this weekend’s snowmelt at higher elevations to “substantially increase flows in most rivers.”

The Okanagan is currently under a high streamflow advisory which means while many waterways running high “no major flooding is expected.”

There has already been some flooding in the region.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Mill Creek waters recede, flooded residents assess damage

Kelowna’s Mill Creek breached its banks on Thursday morning, sending water into streets and homes.

Evacuation alerts were also issued last week for some properties in Lumby and Coldstream due to high water.

While the Okanagan’s snowpack was above normal on May 1, it’s well below where it was at this time of year in 2017 and 2018.

The region experienced significant flooding in both those years.

In 2017, the snowpack was 146 per cent of normal and in 2018 it was 206 per cent of normal on May 1.

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– with files from Shelby Thom, Jules Knox

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