Floodplain areas of the Lower Mainland are shown in white with standard dikes marked with red lines.

Fraser flood risk elevated due to snowpack

River forecasters say much depends on spring weather, speed of melt

There’s a higher risk of flooding on the lower Fraser River this year because of heavier-than-usual snowpacks across central and northern B.C. that have been slow to melt due to a cold spring.

All the major tributary basins that feed the Fraser have above average snowpacks, and the entire watershed holds 31 per cent more snow than usual, according to the latest readings from B.C.’s River Forecast Centre.

“That is about the fifth or sixth highest reading we’ve seen for the Fraser for this time of year,” said centre head Dave Campbell. “It’s something we see about once every 10 or 12 years.”

He said this is the second straight year of a La Nina weather pattern, which tends to cause cool and wet weather in late winter and spring, bolstering snowpacks.

Some parts of the watershed are actually at record snow levels – the Nechako is 65 per cent above normal and the upper Fraser basin is 52 per cent higher than usual. Those two basins supply a third of the flow that comes to the lower Fraser Valley.

Whether high water actually threatens to top Fraser River dikes will depend heavily on spring weather patterns in May and June and how quickly all that snow upcountry melts and flows downstream.

Campbell said a worst case scenario would be continued cool weather for several weeks followed by a heat wave, especially if heavy rains are added to the mix.

The best scenario would be seasonal temperatures and dry weather for the rest of the spring.

So far, he said, the long-term forecasts suggest B.C. is in for dry but hotter than normal conditions later in the spring.

Just Posted

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

More funding for Harrison tourism projects on the horizon

Village could see increased funding by 2020

Most cows saved during massive fire on Agassiz farm thanks to fast work of farmers, neighbours

Agassiz Fire Department responded to late night call Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Chilliwack steps up to the plate and brings music and dance Provicials to town to prevent lag

Sponsors are needed to help knock the 2019 Provincials out of the park

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

Most Read