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West Kootenay snowpack 72% of normal as of April 1

Snowpack is at 63% of normal province-wide, lowest since 1970
A map of B.C. shows the per cent of normal each region’s snowpack as of April 1, 2024. On average throughout the province, the snowpack is 63 per cent of normal, the lowest level on record since 1970. Map: B.C. River Forecast Centre

The West Kootenay snowpack is 72 per cent of normal, unchanged from last month.

The measurement was taken on April 1 at various locations in the region and reported on April 10 as part of the province’s Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin.

Across the province the snowpack on April 1 was 63 per cent of normal, down three per cent from March. April saw the lowest average snow levels across the province since 1970.

It is not expected that much more snow will be added this year. Typically, the bulletin states, about 95 per cent of the seasonal snowfall has accumulated by April 1.

The bulletin says the snowpack levels raise serious concerns of drought, although experts says it’s too soon to say what will happen for certain.

Jonathan Boyd, a hydrologist with the B.C. River Forecast Centre, said on an April 10 call with media that many factors contribute to droughts. “It’s a little bit too early to say … that we will for sure have a major drought this year.”

He said much depends on rainfall patterns and temperatures throughout the late spring and early summer.

“If we have last year’s spring weather conditions this year, it will be worse from a drought perspective,” Boyd said.

Regions with the lowest snowpack on April 1 include the Chilcotin (0 per cent of normal) and Vancouver Island (49 per cent of normal).


B.C.’s snowpack lowest it’s been since 1970, raising risk of drought

West Kootenay’s low snowpack reflects grim provincial picture

Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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