Low West Kootenay snowpacks in February reflect unseasonable lows across the province.

Low West Kootenay snowpacks in February reflect unseasonable lows across the province.

West Kootenay snowpack 83% of normal

Low West Kootenay snowpack in February reflects unseasonable lows across the province.

BC’s River Forecast Centre has released its spring report, showing the West Kootenay snowpack at 83 per cent of the average. In the East Kootenay it’s even lower, at 76 per cent. Both regions experienced below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures during the month.

“Snow pack accumulation trends from early in the season have persisted throughout February,” the report says.

“The extremely low snow packs … are the result of both warmer temperatures and drier conditions through the winter. A high proportion of precipitation has been delivered as rain rather than snow.”

The low snowpack in the West Kootenay could mean a lower than normal flood risk and an increased likelihood of low summer flows.

Despite these numbers, Whitewater Ski Resort reports one of the best snowpacks of any resort in western North America.

BC’s low snowpack is at its most extreme in southwestern BC, which is recording historic lows. In the south coast region the level is 21 per cent of the average, and in the Lower Fraser Valley, 28 per cent.

BC is the only province bucking a trend of frigid temperatures and record snowfalls in the rest of the country that are forecast to continue well into the spring.

Nelson Star