March Snowpack Update
B.C.’s Snow Survey & Water Supply Bulletin: March 2016.
Snowpack: In general, most of the province has near normal or slightly below normal snow packs for March 1st, 2016… A south to north gradient still exists across the province, however very low snow packs observed earlier in the season in northern BC have generally moderated.
Below normal snow packs (65-80%) are present in the Upper Fraser East, Nechako, Central Coast, Skagit, Skeena-Nass, Stikine, and North-west, and well below normal (<65%) in the Liard.
Streamflow: Snow melt runoff that typically flows later in the season has already passed through their watersheds. This advance in runoff timing may lead to an earlier freshet this season, both in terms of timing of peak flows and the recession to the low-flow season.
Outlook: Seasonal forecasts from Environment Canada are indicating a high likelihood of above-normal temperatures across British Columbia over the March to May period, and an increased chance of warmer than normal temperatures through the extended forecast period into the summer months.
Below normal snow pack, particularly in the Liard, and to a lesser extent the Upper Fraser, Nechako, Central Coast, Skeena-Nass, Stikine and Northwest, indicate an increased potential for low flows in the late-spring and summer.
Weather, through the remaining portion of the snow accumulation season, the melt season, and into the summer, is also a key driver on whether or not flooding or low stream flows will occur.