RDKB Speaks to Regional Snowpack, Freshet

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The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary says local snowpack levels are relatively normal, but residents should still start getting prepared for freshet season.

The Boundary region snowpack is at 100% of average and the West Kootenay is at 113% of normal.

Manager of Emergency Programs Mark Stephens says those numbers have risen slightly since April 1st:

“…. That’s largely due to the fact that April was a very cold month and we didn’t have much melt happening. We didn’t have much accumulation but just because of the passage of time and very low melt those numbers rise because they are essentially a percent of normal.”

“We’re monitoring them as always. During freshet season we have a whole host of sites that we use to monitor…. In the Boundary Region that’s where we have a lot of our concern, or investigation we’re looking into, and that’s just because of what happened over in 2017, 2018 and then 2020. So we’ve developed a number of tools to help us with that whether it’s our Regional Flood Response Plan or our new Freshet Dashboard that we released last year which just gives people a snapshot of what the river systems and snow packs are doing on a given day. So we update those coming up to twice a week now just to help people make some informed decision and help with their personal preparedness.” he adds

The Bounce Radio Newsroom asked Stephens what exactly goes into seasonal flooding:

“Flooding is a function of three things: Snowpack, precipitation and temperature. Without one of those three variables you can’t really have a flood. So we monitor all three of those (and) with snow packs being right around average that’s really good, that helps a lot, but then that leaves the temperature and precipitation. So when we get into this time of year: We’ve had a little bit of delayed melt, we have a little bit of snow still to come down, we’re watching that we’re not getting too many days of high alpine temperatures. So our alpine snow station in the Boundary…. We make sure that one is not 25 degrees during the day and then 10 overnight; that’s when we start getting more rapid melt of the snow…. When we have situations like that and then we get rain on top of it, that’s when we can have these rapid reductions in snow and rapid influxes into our river system.”

Locals are reminded now is the time to start gathering a grab-and-go bag or 72-hour emergency kit just in case. Click here to find more details online.