The BC River Forecast Centre released its latest snow survey and water supply bulletin on March 9, 2021. The survey collects data from over 220 manual and automated snow courses and weather stations around the province.
As of March 1, the snow pack throughout B.C. is above normal, although East and West Kootenay snow packs are closer to normal.
The West Kootenay snow pack is 110 per cent of normal, a little up from 107 per cent on February 1. In the East Kootenay the snow pack is at 106 per cent of normal, up from 101 per cent on February 1.
The highest snow pack in the province is in the Northwest region where it is 204 per cent of normal. The forecast centre says that by early March, approximately 80 per cent of the snow pack has accumulated.
B.C. continues under La Niña winter conditions which typically mean cooler temperatures and greater than normal precipitation over the next few months, although it does affect the southwest portion of the province most strongly.
In February the province recorded temperatures from 1 to 4 degrees C colder than normal. Regions with below normal precipitation for February include Vancouver Island, South Coast and East Kootenay.
Due to cooler temperatures during spring months, La Niña conditions often result in continued snow accumulation and delayed snow melt. Analysis by the River Forecast Centre indicates that during historic La Niña years from the past 40 years, the snow pack increases an average of 9 percentage points between March 1st to May 1st across the province. Areas in the Southern Interior tend to increase by 10 to 17 percentage points on average. Recent La Niña years have resulted in significant flooding, including 2017, 2012 and 2011.