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The June 15th snow survey is now complete. Data from 2 snow courses and 47 snow pillows around the province (including some out-of-province sampling locations), and climate data from Environment Canada, have been used to form the basis for the following reports.
The entire document can be viewed as an Adobe pdf file.
Weather through the first half of June has been mixed, with some warm periods and some periods of unsettled weather. Temperatures have been near seasonal through most areas of the province, with slightly above normal temperatures occurring in the South Thompson region (Kamloops and Salmon Arm). June precipitation has been below normal through most areas, with near normal precipitation in South Thompson and Lower Columbia regions. Extreme precipitation has occurred over the June 19-21st period, particularly through the Kootenay, Columbia, Okanagan and Thompson regions.
The snow melt season has been progressing earlier than normal this year. In a typical year, approximately 65% of the high-elevation snow pack has melted by the middle of June. This year, nearly 80% of snow, on average, has melted at the automated pillow sites. Snow melt is approximately 1 week earlier than normal. With snow packs at the start of the melt season being near normal, the early melt is leading to current snow packs that are below, or well-below, average across most of the province, with the exception of the North and South Thompson basins which have above normal June 15th snow packs.
Snow water-equivalent data is currently being estimated at three automated snow pillow sites (Table 1). Detailed Snow Survey Data are available at http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/data/survey/.
Water Supply Outlook
Snow packs have now diminished enough across the province such that most river systems have experienced the peak of the annual freshet snow melt. This includes the Fraser River. Flood risk due to snow melt alone is now diminishing in all regions. Flooding remains a possibility, but would require extreme precipitation such as the events of this week in the central and southeast regions of the province.
With lower than average annual snow packs in the Nechako and Bulkley Rivers, lower than normal flows are expected (specifically in unregulated tributaries in the Nechako basin). In other areas of the province, as a result of an earlier than normal snow melt, summer low flows are expected to occur a little earlier than normal as well. Late-summer low flows will largely be determined by summer weather conditions.
This is the final snow bulletin of the year. The River Forecast Centre will begin issuing Water Supply and Streamflow Conditions reports starting in July, unless conditions warrant otherwise.
Produced by: BC River Forecast Centre
June 21, 2013