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

Two-year-old attacked by cougar in Cascade Falls Regional Park

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon near Mission

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

VIDEO: SUV crashes into Downtown Abbotsford store

Front window of Jazz-Ma-Tazz destroyed in afternoon crash

Publication ban lifted on Letisha Reimer’s name

Reimer’s family had supported an application by The News to lift ban

Mission girl gets her wish to go to Disneyworld

Children’s Wish Foundation, Vancouver Christmas Market and Vancouver Canucks help raise funds

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Coquihalla closed between Hope and Merritt

The highway is closed in the northbound lane

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Lower Mainland man receives apology after getting kicked out of library

Mike Wilson fears the same treatment he received Nov. 2 by security guards will happen to others

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Surrey boy’s birthday wish raises $13,500 for rescued farm animals

Matthew Farden received a large donation from the mister Blake Foundation towards a sanctuary farm.

Most Read