Summerland’s snowpack level far higher than normal

Measurements at two sites have been high throughout this year

While the snow has melted in Summerland, there is still plenty of snow in the mountains nearby.

The latest snowpack data, collected by the municipality, shows significantly more snow than average.

The readings were taken April 1.

At Summerland Reservoir, the snow pack was 1,210 millimetres, or the equivalent of 360 millimetres of water.

This is 159 per cent of the historical average water equivalent, measured over 55 years.

At Isintok Lake, the snow depth was 1,110 millimetres, or the equivalent of 273 millimetres of water. This is 159 per cent of the average water equivalent, measured over 54 years.

Devon van der Meulen, Summerland’s manager of utilities, said the possibility of flooding is a concern.

“It depends on how quickly the melt occurs and whether we get heavy rains,” he said.

If the snow melts at a reasonably steady rate, there may be no flooding issues, he added.

Last year, at the beginning of April, the snowpack at Summerland Reservoir was at 101 per cent of the normal level, while at Isintok Lake, the snowpack was 83 per cent of normal.

Despite these numbers, the community experience flooding in spring. Almost a year ago, portions of Garnett Valley were flooded during the spring melt.

As a result, van der Meulen said notices have been sent to property owners in the area, reminding them of the possibility of flooding.

Sandbags will be available at the fire department.

Crews are continuing to monitor the snowpack levels. The snowpack is measured each month from Jan. 1 to May 1, and twice a month after that time, until the last of the snow has melted.

So far this year, the snowpack level at both sites has been well above normal each month.

Provincewide, snow levels are above normal.

At provincial snow survey sites in the Okanagan Valley, the snowpack is 127 per cent of normal. Brenda Mine, the site closest to Summerland, had a snowpack level of 112 per cent of normal.

In addition to the risk of creek flooding, municipal, regional and provincial officials are also monitoring Okanagan Lake. Last spring, significant flooding occurred at the lake.

This year, van der Meulen said the lake level has been taken down as a precautionary measure.

“We have a little better preparedness, knowing what we went through last year,” he said.

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