2016 Fraser River Freshet Information

Link to Provincial Forecasts:  http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/bulletins/freshet.htm 

The extremely warm periods in April led to significant and rapid melt of the provincial snow pack. May 1st snow basin indices ranged from 12% to 100% of normal, with a provincial average of 53%. The provincial average saw a decline of 38% from the April 1st value of 91%. The 2016 May 1st provincial average basin index is a new record low (measured since 1980), and is 13% below the previous low of 66%, observed in 1980. Of the 183 snow survey measurements made for the May 1st period, 33 stations, or 18%, observed new record lows, with many locations having 40 to 50 years of record. Low and mid-elevation snow is largely gone for all areas of the province with snow remaining only at high elevation.


With significant snow melt already occurring, many river basins are approaching, or have passed, the peak of the freshet season. In mid-sized watersheds with limited high elevation terrain in the south and central interior, the peak of the freshet season may already have occurred.  In the larger river systems of the province, and rivers that drain higher elevation alpine terrain, the peak flow season is expected to continue to be 3-4 weeks earlier than normal, but have not yet occurred. For the North Thompson River the peak season may extend until mid-May, mid to- late May for the Fraser River, Skeena River and tributaries, and early to mid-June for the South Thompson River and tributaries, again all 3-4 weeks earlier than normal. With a May 1st snow basin index of 69% of normal, the Fraser River at Hope has a revised forecasted peak flow of 6500-7000 m3/s.