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Near normal snow pack means low flood risk

By Jennifer Feinberg – Chilliwack Progress
Published: April 18, 2013 5:00 PM 

City of Chilliwack is doing its usual spring freshet preparations including keeping an eye on the snow pack.

The latest snow pack report from the River Forecast Centre says levels are at about 100 per cent of normal for the most part across the province, which is about as average as can be.

Flood risk is reduced this year thanks to near normal snow pack.

Flood risk is reduced this year thanks to near normal snow pack.

Currently in the entire Fraser River system, all basins are at 101 per cent of normal snow pack.

That means a five per cent chance of peak flows, said staff, or 11,500 cubic metres per second at Hope, which is what they reached last year.

There’s less than one per cent of a chance of a peak flow of 15,000 m3/s, which was the Flood of 1948 level.

One exception is in the Upper Fraser basin, where the current snow basin index of 119 per cent indicates a moderate increase in the seasonal flood risk. For comparison, last year’s April 1 snow basin index in the Upper Fraser was 152 per cent.

Half of what happens every spring is weather related, so engineering staff will continue to watch the rising levels as snow pack melts this spring.

Last year high water levels flooded some of Chilliwack’s unprotected areas, despite valiant efforts to build flood-protection barriers.

The next snow bulletin is expected May 8.

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