Snow Conditions Commentary

January 18, 2022

The provincial weather pattern shifted in January, switching from very cold and relatively dry conditions in late December to wetter conditions for the first half of January. The first atmospheric river since late November washed most of the lower elevation snow on Vancouver Island and the South Coast, but added to the snow pack at higher elevations, particularly in the Interior. Relative to January 1st, most regions in the province snow pack increased in percentage.

A complete listing of Automated Snow Weather Stations (ASWS) expressed as percent of long-term median for the entire length of record is found here: ASWS Weekly Summary.

Regional snowpack levels vary from slightly below normal to well above normal for January 15th, based solely on ASWS locations. The lowest regions are the Liard at 81% and the Okanagan at 93%. The highest regions are the West Kootenay at 138% and the Upper Columbia at 136%. All-time record high snowpack for January 15th was recorded at Floe Lake (2C14P) and Redfish Creek (2D14P).

The provincial average for all ASWS sites is 117%, increasing from January 1st at 113%. The average for all stations within the Fraser River basin is 119%, increasing from 116% on January 1st. By January 15th, on average, approximately 55% of the total seasonal snow pack has accumulated. 

Another strong storm system brought snowfall to the province January 15 to 17 and increased the snow pack for northern regions of the province. Another impactful storm will affect the North Coast and spill into the Interior on January 19 to 20. In the long-range forecast weather models are hinting an extended dry period that could last up to a week. 

The mountain snowpack accumulation season extends for another three to four months, but early normal to above normal snowpack conditions indicate an increased risk for snowmelt-related flooding during spring 2022.

The next bulletin of the season - February 1st, 2022 Snow & Water Supply Bulletin - is scheduled to be released February 8, 2022. The bulletin offers a more detailed and comprehensive summary of the February 1st snow pack statistics and includes approximately 100 Manual Snow Survey measurements. The official Snow Basin Indices are calculated within the Bulletin.