COMMENTARY · 7th May 2013
UPDATE - Rain is now expected on Saturday with overnight temperatures in the double digits - see picture below
The Skeena River has risen two full metres in the past 48 hours and is likely to continue this rapid rise. In fact the rate of rise may increase further as the heat continues.
The weather forecast indicates a continuing rise in temperature until Friday and on Sunday warm showers are expected. This will exacerbate the melt and runoff bringing the remaining snow pack down in a sudden rush.
The saving grace for this eventuality is the low snow pack. Only one region of British Columbia is suffering from as low a snowpack this winter as the Skeena/Stikine/Bulkley regions and that is the Similkameen which is seeing only 82% of their normal volume. The Bulkley/Nechako on the other hand is recording only 77% of normal snow while the Skeena/Nass has recorded just 85% of normal snow accumulation over this past winter.
Both of the snow accumulation and monitoring stations in the Skeena Watersheds upstream from Terrace began recording temperatures in the double digits this past weekend. Besides the low elevation melting, this higher elevation 'high temperature' has produced the significant volume of water now hitting the river level monitoring station at Usk.
As the temperatures continue to hit the double digits each day in the high mountain areas, even hitting 20 degrees two days ago in the Tsai region Northeast of Terrace (4:00 pm Sunday), we can expect the water to continue to rise considerably right through to the end of next week.