NEWS

B.C. Forecast Centre Warns Of Spring Flood Risk

05/08/2012 06:48 EDT | Updated 07/08/2012 05:12 EDT

The B.C. River Forecast Centre says a higher than normal snowpack has created an "exceptional" seasonal flood risk.

On Tuesday, the centre released its latest report on snowpack conditions, outlining which regions are at the greatest risk.

"With above normal snow packs through most of the province, above normal spring runoff volume is expected in most basins across the province," the report said.

"The very high snow packs in the Upper Fraser, Nechako [and] Skeena-Nass ... creates exceptional seasonal flood risk in these regions, subject to weather conditions during melt."

The Upper Fraser River is at 152 per cent of normal, while the Nechako is at 148 per cent and the Skeena-Nass at 138 per cent.

The report says the snow pack in the entire Fraser River basin is at 129 per cent of normal, concentrated in the Upper Fraser, Nechako and Lower Fraser basins.

"Therefore, there is an elevated flood risk present through the entire length of the mainstem of the Fraser River from the Robson Valley to the Fraser Valley."

The province is entering the season when flooding as a result of snow melt can occur, the report says.

"Small to medium sized watersheds in the Interior tend to reach peak flows the earliest in the season (early May through June), while larger river systems tend to peak later in the spring and summer (mid-May through late-June or July)," reads the report.

"While snow pack plays an important role in seasonal flood risk, ultimately weather determines the rate of river runoff and whether or not flood conditions occur. Adverse weather that can cause flooding includes extended periods of hot weather, wet weather, or combinations of the two."

The forecast centre says it will now be monitoring snow and weather conditions across the province and issues advisories when conditions warrant.

Some communities in B.C.'s southern Interior were already hit with flooding last month, a combination of heavy rain and snow melt.