Lack of Okanagan snow not alarming yet

There's less snow than usual around the valley, which could mean a lack of adequate water when summer comes.

We’re only about halfway through this winter’s normal snow accumulation at higher elevations around the valley, but there’s less than the normal amount of the white stuff in local hills.

It’s been warmer than normal in the first part of January in the valley bottom, but it’s been drier than usual as well.

Snow accumulations are further below normal on the west side of the lake than on the east side of the lake, with snow at the Mission Creek snow pillow at 89 per cent of normal, but at the Brenda Mine snowcourse, across the lake, at 67 per cent of normal.

Brenda’s snowcourse is at a lower elevation, 1,460 metres, while the Mission Creek one is measured at 1,780 metres of elevation, which may partly account for the difference.

Low snowpacks mean less melting snow runs off in the spring and early summer into local reservoirs for use during the hot summer in the Okanagan.

David Campbell, head of B.C.’s River Forecast Centre, notes that a second winter of influence from La Nina, which results from cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to persist into this spring.

Along with the cool-phase Pacific Decadal Oscillation conditions, they are forecast to enhance seasonal climate effects, with cooler than normal and normal to wetter-than-normal conditions throughout most of B.C.

While snowpacks in the southern interior part of the province are below normal, in the upper Fraser, Peace and Skeena regions they are above normal, raising the possibility of spring flooding.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com

 

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