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First 2021 Shuswap Lake Level Peak Recorded

Shuswap Lake peaked at 347.914 m on June 8


Source: SLW NEWS Date: 2021-06-13 Topic: SLW News Location: Shuswap Lake

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After a short hot period, followed by some moderate rain, a first Shuswap Lake level peak has been recorded on June 8. Since then, lake levels have slowly dropped at a daily rate of up to 3.2 cm (1.3 in) and by a total of 7.1 cm (2.8 in) as of June 12. The overall cooler weather has been a major factor for the relatively slow runoff this year, allowing the Shuswap Lake to continuously drain a significant portion of the daily lake inflow.

The cooler temperatures at lake elevation often resulted in near or below freezing conditions during the nighttime, turning the top layer of the water-soaked snow into an icy crust which limited the snow melt to just a few hours in the afternoon. Additionally, the dry mountain soil was able to hold and absorb a lot of the snow water, therefore feeding less water into mountain lakes and creeks.

However, with more potential rain water in the near forecast, followed by another heat wave starting this coming weekend, the runoff could resume next week and potentially rise lake levels again and slightly beyond the initial peak. However, it remains most unlikely that Shuswap Lake can exceed the 348 m mark under any circumstances.

The remaining snowpack in the Park Mountain and Silver Star Mountain area have already lost its relevance for the current phase of the runoff. The Park Mtn snowpack has already been reduced to just over a foot, whereas the up to 4 inches of snow at Silver Star will likely have melted away in a matter of days. Celista Mountain has also melted rather quickly this year, leaving just below a foot of snow behind, likely to be gone by next week as well. The Hunters Range snowpack is down to roughly 120 cm (4 ft) at an altitude of 1,950 m (6,400 ft) with a bit less in sun exposed areas, a bit more in shady spots, and roughly 2 - 3 ft more in the higher alpine regions which usually has barely any substantial impact on the Shuswap Lake levels.

If the initial Shuswap Lake peak level holds or not will exclusively depend on weather of the coming days. Heavy mountain rain or rain showers might rise the lake levels again, whereas some mild rain before the upcoming short heat wave may just be enough to hold lake levels steady for a few days. In any case, lake levels will remain well below the 25-year average this year.


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