Snowpack levels in the Cariboo remain very low.
Jonathan Boyd, a Hydrologist with the BC River Forecast Centre, says there was very little change from last month.
“The Quesnel region is at 55 percent of normal, which is significantly low. It went from 51 to 55 but to me that essentially shows that there wasn’t much change, that we still are extremely low for the region.’
Boyd says it was at 91 percent of normal on February 1st of last year and was up to 111 percent by March 1st.
He says some stations are lower than they have ever been.
“The one sight set records for Quesnel, just kind of the general area further south there is Mount Timothy at 63 millimetres of snow water equivalent. That’s the lowest in 55 years of measurements for that site.”
Boyd says the Chilcotin, while better than Quesnel, is still lower than normal as well.
“I think only one station was scheduled but they ended up surveying both. That’s at Big Creek and at Puntzi Mountain. In terms of relative snowpack it’s one of the better ones from a percentile basis, like they average out at about the 20th percentile so it’s kind of a one in five year low snow year compared to some of the other areas where the percentiles are just extraordinarily low. It’s at 68 percent of normal. Last year it was at 98 percent.”
Boyd says drought is definitely a concern this year. especially if we get an early melt.
“El Nino can often lead to earlier melts than normal, so if we have really hot temperatures in April, or even worse mid to late March, we could see the snowpack melting earlier than it’s ever melted before.”
Boyd says one thing that could help in that area would be a lot of rainfall in the spring, but he says it is a bit of a catch 22 because that amount of heavy rain could also trigger flooding.