Snowpack above normal for Burns Lake region

Basin snow water index map for March 1. (BC River Forecast Centre)

As the snow begins to melt, official assessments of the winter snowpack reveals a mixed bag of results for northern British Columbia.

For the Upper Fraser West basin, which includes Burns Lake, Fort St. James and Vanderhoof, the snowpack is at 106 per cent of the normal level, according to the March 1 data of the BC River Forecast Centre.

However, the Nechako basin – in areas including Tahtsa Lake, Skins Lake and Mount Pondosy – is at 79 per cent of the normal snowpack level.

The Skeena-Nass basin – northwest of Burns Lake and comprising Houston, Smithers and Terrace – is at 82 per cent of the normal level.

For the approaching spring melt, the snowpack level around Burns Lake entails “close to normal runoff for volume and peak flow,” Dave Campbell, head of BC River Forecast Centre told Lakes District News.

The wider implications of those levels, such as possible drier ground and greater risk of wildfires were too early to assess.

“How does the weather pan out after the [spring] melt? That becomes the key determinant. The northwest has seen a lot less precipitation this winter and spring. Once this snow melts we’ll switch into those dry conditions…If this dry persists it doubles up on those impacts,” Campbell explained.

“The piece that’s uncertain is how much rain we’ll get. That can add a fair bit to the runoff.”

Environment Canada forecasts show that precipitation levels for much of northern B.C. are about 40 per cent below normal for March-April-May, and temperatures around the same probability for most of the province for the same period.

Campbell stressed that the April 8 survey should give a clearer picture of the implications of the snowpack, as that sample takes in the peak accumulation of the snow.

The snowpack for March of 2019 is lower than for last March when it was 138 per cent above normal.

By April of last year it went higher, leading to floods in the Burns Lake area when the snow melted.

LOOK BACK: UPDATED: Roads disrupted around Burns Lake as flood warning issued in region

Two years ago it was significantly lower, at 66 per cent in March and 85 per cent in April.

READ MORE: Below-normal snowpack in the Lakes District


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

Just Posted

CN train derailment cleared between Terrace and Prince Rupert

The CN mainline is now open, following a train derailment mid-way between… Continue reading

Trial finishes for suspect in Burns Lake man’s murder

Closing submissions concluded at the Supreme Court in Prince George on July… Continue reading

Lightning starts nine small fires on July 5-7

Several wildfires started in the Northwest Fire Centre region over the July… Continue reading

Mill blast safety measures review ends

The government is wrapping up a review on how industries and other… Continue reading

Magician wows Burns Lake children

Magician Leif David entertained dozens of children in the Burns Lake Public… Continue reading

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read