Flood risk fades, dry summer more likely in B.C.

B.C. snowpack at record low 23 per cent of normal as of June 1, Fraser River peak flow May 8 was earliest on record

There's still snow in the alpine on Whistler Mountain but average snowpacks are far below normal for this time of year across B.C.

There's still snow in the alpine on Whistler Mountain but average snowpacks are far below normal for this time of year across B.C.

Spring flooding along rivers in B.C. now appears unlikely, but there’s a growing threat that much of the province may be in for another dangerously dry summer.

That’s the indication from the latest measurements posted by B.C.’s River Forecast Centre.

As of June 1, B.C.’s alpine snowpacks were at 23 per cent of normal for that time of year – a record low.

A warmer than normal May caused the snowpack to melt off very rapidly.

“Current snow conditions are more typical of late June or early July,” the forecast centre’s latest bulletin said, resulting in many rivers reaching flow conditions that are three to four weeks ahead of usual.

“Most rivers have likely experienced their peak levels for the year, unless an extreme rainfall event occurs in June or early July,” the bulletin said.

Preliminary data for the Fraser River at Hope shows the river flow peaked at 6,130 cubic metres per second on May 8.

That date is the earliest on record that the lower Fraser has peaked and it’s also the second lowest peak flow on record. Normally the Fraser peaks in mid-June.

Fishery biologists have already sounded a warning that low streamflow conditions could create particularly challenging water conditions for salmon returning to spawn.

June has so far seen cooler temperatures and moderate rainfall.

The forecast centre says below normal stream flows are likely across B.C. this summer if there’s near-normal precipitation for the rest of the spring and summer.

Last year’s severe drought triggered extreme water sprinkling restrictions in the Lower Mainland, as well as angling closures and heightened risk of forest fires across much of the province.

Snowpack levels as of June 1

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The RCMP was called to a condo complex in Langley City in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2021, for a shooting. (Shane Mackichan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Our View: Too many shootings as gang war continues

We need to ask what more we could be doing to stop the endless gang wars

A lawsuit over three stormwater floods of a building over the past year has been launched against Langley City. (Langley Advance Times file)
Flooded apartment building sparks lawsuit against Langley City

A downtown landlord claims a lack of storm sewer upgrades is negligence

Abbotsford’s Willow Video location will be closing at the end of the month. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford’s Willow Video closing

Video game, movie retailer closing up shop after more than 20 years

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Most Read