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Snowpack levels above average for most of province: B.C. River Forecast Centre

A map showing B.C.’s snow basin regions ranging from green (around 100 per cent of normal snowpack levels) to dark blue (above average). The map shows data from Jan. 5. Province of B.C.

Snowpack levels across British Columbia are nearly all above average, according to the latest provincial data.

In its snow and water supply bulletin, the B.C. River Forecast Centre says snow accumulation began early this year, and that there’s a 95 per cent chance that La Nina conditions will persist through the rest of winter and into spring.

The bulletin says the provincial average for all automated snow weather stations is currently 122 per cent, up from 115 per cent on Jan. 1.

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“Accumulation in December was steady as the province experienced several storm cycles throughout the month,” reads a snow conditions commentary from Jan. 18.

“The first half of January was very stormy with several frontal systems affecting the province, particularly the South Coast, Vancouver Island and the Southern Interior and resulted in rapid mountain snowpack development.”

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To view the Jan. 1 snow survey and water supply bulletin, click here.

Regarding La Nina, the province says the weather pattern typically results in cooler and wetter weather conditions for B.C.

“The overall impact of La Nina on snow can be variable,” said the snow conditions commentary for Jan. 18, “but on average, areas in the southern portion of the province tend to have higher than normal April 1st snow basin indices.”

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B.C. evening weather forecast: Jan. 21 – Jan 21, 2021

The River Forecast Centre receives its data from automated snow weather stations across the province. Those stations transmit hourly data, though the province also performs manual snow surveys up to eight times a year.

Below is a list of B.C.’s automated snow weather stations. The data is listed as a regional average, as of Jan. 22:

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  • Upper Fraser East: 125 per cent
  • Upper Fraser West: 133 per cent
  • Nechako: 123 per cent
  • Middle Fraser: 110 per cent
  • Lower Fraser: 121 per cent
  • North Thompson: 115 per cent
  • South Thompson: 108 per cent
  • Upper Columbia: 122 per cent
  • West Kootenay: 114 per cent
  • East Kootenay: 93 per cent
  • Okanagan: 118 per cent
  • Boundary: 107 per cent
  • Similkameen: 113 per cent
  • South Coast: 115 per cent
  • Central Coat: 132 per cent
  • Peace: 107 per cent
  • Skeena-Nass: 116 per cent
  • Liard: 101 per cent
  • Stikine: 138 per cent
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Kelowna Weather Forecast: January 22 – Jan 22, 2021

Last year, snowpack levels varied greatly at this time – some basins were above normal while others were well below average.

For example, the Boundary basin was at 121 per cent of normal at Jan. 1, with the South Thompson listed at 117 per cent.

But of the 23 listed basins, just eight were at 100 per cent or above with 14 below 100, including Upper Fraser West at 37 per cent and Lower Fraser at 51 per cent.

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Combined, the provincial snowpack average for Jan. 1, 2020, was 84 per cent.

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To view the snow basin report from Jan. 1, 2020, click here.

To view the automated snow weather stations for 2021, click here.

To view a map of B.C.’s snow basin indices, click here.