B.C. has lowest snowpack on record, drought a concern: BC River Forecast Centre

VANCOUVER — A hydrologist with British Columbia’s River Forecast Centre says the April snow survey shows the lowest snowpack on record in the province. 

Jonathan Boyd says the snowpack is 63 per cent of normal, which may mean an increased risk for drought this spring and summer.

The latest monthly snow survey, which includes data from weather stations around the province, says that 95 per cent of the seasonal snowpack typically accumulates as of April.

The forecast centre says dry conditions throughout March also left many northern and Interior regions “with near record low precipitation.”

Boyd says it is possible for snowpack to continue to climb into May if it is a cold or wet spring, adding that the “silver lining” is that flooding risk is lower for areas that consistently flood.

But he says it is still possible for sudden or extreme rainfall, or persistent heavy rain to cause flooding “especially in smaller- or medium-sized rivers in the Interior.”

He says the low provincial snowpack, impacts of drought from previous years and the seasonal forecast are all cause for provincewide concern about drought, though it is too early to know for certain.

“We’ll see what happens over the next maybe three to four weeks in terms of temperatures,” he told a news conference Wednesday. “Ideally, what we’d like … is seasonal temperatures with a little bit of precipitation.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press