Health of British Columbia’s rivers will depend largely on summer rainfall, according to River Forecast Centre

Note to Reader:

On June 15th, British Columbia’s River Forecast Centre released the final Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin for the 2016 season.

British Columbia preparing for another year of severe drought

An early start to hot weather has reduced the snow pack and water levels to rates far below normal in British Columbia.

David Campbell_River Forecast Centre_trimmed_120pAs reported in the Vancouver Sun, the province has registered 13 per cent of the normal amount of snowpack in the mountains after high temperatures in March, April and early May. This information is attributed to Dave Campbell, Head, River Forecast Centre.

“At a province-wide level in general, (river water) flows are sitting at about one-quarter to three-quarters of what they would normally be this time of year,” stated David Campbell.

River Forecast Centre

The River Forecast Centre (RFC) monitors, analyzes and models the streamflow conditions around the province by using a variety of scientific knowledge, methodologies, techniques and models with data input of snow surveys, weather and streamflow from BC Ministry of Environment, Environment Canada and other sources, and provides information at The June 15th bulletin reported that:

The advanced freshet is expected to put pressure on summer low flows in snow melt- dominated rivers across the province. Through most of the province, the transition to seasonally lower than normal flows occurred.

The influence of the snow melt season occurring about a month early this year is expected to continue through the summer, with the largest departures from normal flows occurring in late-June and through July.

By August and into September, rainfall is an important factor in determining streamflow as the influence from snow melt diminishes.  While the impact of this will vary from river to river across the province, the proportion of flows in June, July and August that are derived from snow melt will be greatly reduced.

In the northeast and in lower elevation coastal watersheds, snow melt usually plays a minor role in summer flows, and rainfall is particularly important for determining the flows that are experienced through the summer.

To Learn More:

Download a copy of B.C. preparing for another year of severe drought to read the complete story as published in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on June 24, 2016.

Visit BC Drought Map: