Record low snowpack in B.C. - but epic winter could be on way

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Emerald lake in Yoho national Park Canadian Rockies (Jiri Slama/Shutterstock)

While we’ve been basking in this spring’s record-breaking temperatures, it’s had a knock-on effect we may have forgotten about – the rapid melting of our snowpack to a record low.

The low snowpack could impact the water supply to many communities in the province and increase the likelihood of water restrictions that are needed to cope with them.

It could also make summertime cliff jumping more dangerous than usual, as previously deep, glacial lakes are left shallower and more risky.

On average, B.C.’s snowpack on May 1 was down to a record-breaking 53% of normal, 13% below the previous low in 1980; in some areas, it was even as low as 12% of normal.

According to the Ministry of Environment, of the 183 snow measurements made for May 1, 33 stations saw record lows. Low and mid-elevation snow has already vanished across B.C.

Could La Niña bring epic ski season?

On the bright side, the ministry says last year’s El Niño conditions, which left our ski hills struggling, are declining.

More good news – the Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) at the U.S. National Weather Service/NOAA says it is increasingly we’ll get La Niña conditions in fall/winter this year.

Bringing higher than normal levels of precipitation at cooler temperatures, that could mean one hell of a ski season for all of us skiers and snowboarders.

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Jenni Sheppard Staff writer at Vancity Buzz. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, film fan, feminist, geek, curler.
@jenni_sheppard

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