Snow Conditions Commentary

April 16, 2021

The first two weeks of April were relatively cool across the province with some minor storm systems during the first week, resulting in minor snow accumulation in the mountains. Starting April 12th and onwards, a major weather pattern shift occurred and extremely warm temperatures are beginning to rapidly melt the snowpack at lower and some mid-elevation snow stations.

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 snow pack levels vary from slightly below normal to well above normal for April 15th, based solely on ASWS locations. The provincial average for all ASWS locations increased from 115% on April 1st to 117% for April 15th. The average for all stations within the Fraser River basin increased to 120% (April 1st: 119%). By April 1st, on average, approximately 100% of the total seasonal snow pack has accumulated. 

The majority of regions stayed fairly level or measured a slight increase in average percent of median from April 1st, primarily related to the cool temperatures. The current warm weather is expected to last for a couple more days before cooling. The Lower and mid-elevation snowpack is expected to continue melting rapidly. Cooler and wetter conditions are expected in the long-range forecast which should subdue the active snowmelt. It is possible to return to snow accumulation in late April and even into May.

The May 1st, 2021 Snow & Water Supply Bulletin will be issued May 7, 2021. It will provide a more detailed and comprehensive summary of the April 1st snow pack statistics and include approximately 130 Manual Snow Survey measurements. The official Snow Basin Indices are calculated within the Bulletin. The May 1st Snow Bulletin is important because it provides a detailed synopsis on whether it is an early or delayed snowmelt freshet.