An early snapshot from the BC River Forecast Centre was provided on March 1st.
Hydrologist Jonathon Boyd says this month’s readings are quite different from last year at this time.
“For March 1st, we have that area with a general snow basin index of 112 percent of normal, a slight increase from February when it was at 105 percent of normal, but actually less than last year. Last year it was 123 percent of normal for that region.”
Within that Quesnel River basin, Boyd says Yanks Peak was at about 113 percent of normal at the beginning of this month, down from 142 percent last year.
Boyd says they also look at it from a percentile to give it a bit more in terms of the range and whether it is near the maximum or the minimum.
“The Yanks Peak this year is at the 80th percentile. That means that 80 percent of the time it’s below its current value and 20 percent of the time its above the current value. So another automated station in the region, the Boss Mountain Mine, a little bit more upstream of Williams Lake, so further south. That’s at the 85th percentile, specifically 84.”
Boyd says with it being a La Nina year, it is possible cooler spring temperatures could bring more snow accumulation.
He also says that snowpack is just one factor in determining whether or not spring flooding could occur.
“The challenge for the Cariboo region is that it was so wet last spring and summer and even extending to fall, that the base flow conditions have been quite high over the winter period, and especially in December and January where temperatures were abnormally warm for that time of year, flows did stay quite high.”
Boyd says as usual ultimately it is the weather that will decided if there is flooding or not this spring.
The next snowpack update will be released on April 9th.