Snowpack level in Okanagan at 121%, highest in province

Click to play video: 'Okanagan snowpack above average'
Okanagan snowpack above average
Officials are warning some areas of B.C. may be at risk of drought this spring, but that's not the case in the Okanagan. The latest data, released this week, shows that region has an above average snow pack this year – Feb 9, 2023

Of all the regions in B.C., the Okanagan, with its mild winters, currently has the highest snowpack total in the province.

This week, the River Forecast Centre (RFC) released its monthly update on snowpack totals. Most regions in the province are well below average, but the Okanagan is one of three areas that exceeded 100 per cent.

As of Wednesday, the Okanagan was at 121 per cent of its normal snowfall total, with the Boundary region in second at 116 per cent and the Lower Thompson area in third at 115 per cent.

The only other region in triple digits was Upper Fraser West (Prince George) at 100 per cent.

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Notably, on Jan. 7, the Okanagan was at 125 per cent, while the Boundary region was at 147 per cent.

Snow basin indices in B.C. and their percentage of normal as of Feb. 8:

  • Northwest: N/A
  • Stikine: 67 per cent
  • Liard: 68 per cent
  • Skeena-Nass: 86 per cent
  • Peace: 81 per cent
  • Upper Fraser West: 100 per cent
  • Upper Fraser East: 73 per cent
  • Nechako: 84 per cent
  • Central Coast: 88 per cent
  • West Road / Chilcotin: 98 per cent
  • Quesnel: 91 per cent
  • North Thompson: 68 per cent
  • South Thompson: 86 per cent
  • Lower Thompson: 115 per cent
  • Bridge: 64 per cent
  • Upper Columbia: 72 per cent
  • East Kootenay: 84 per cent
  • West Kootenay: 84 per cent
  • Boundary: 116 per cent
  • Okanagan: 121 per cent
  • Similkameen: 77 per cent
  • Skagit: 50 per cent
  • Lower Fraser: 71 per cent
  • South Coast: 73 per cent
  • Vancouver Island: 75 per cent
Click to play video: 'Kelowna Weather Forecast: February 8'
Kelowna Weather Forecast: February 8

On Feb. 1, the RFC said almost all areas of the province were below normal, noting that January was drier and warmer than normal, with temperatures ranging from one to four degrees above normal.

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“The provincial average for the automated snow weather station sites is 81 per cent (dropping from 87 per cent on Jan. 1) and the Fraser River basin is 76 per cent of median (lowering from 82 per cent on Jan. 1),” said the RFC.

“By February 1st, on average, approximately two-thirds of the total seasonal snowpack has accumulated in a typical year.”

Looking ahead, the RFC says its forecast is calling for ongoing precipitation and snowpack numbers to increase, but noted there are “early concerns for drought extending into the spring and summer with below normal snow throughout many regions.”

But it also said that “with two or more months left for snow accumulation, seasonal snowpacks can still change based on weather patterns.”

Click to play video: 'Risk of deadly avalanche at 20-year high in B.C.'
Risk of deadly avalanche at 20-year high in B.C.

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