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The 2021 runoff has started

First Outlook and Preliminary Forecast


Source: SLW NEWS Date: 2021-04-05 Topic: SLW News Location: Shuswap Lake

Shuswap Lake At Sicamous Pictures: 5 Videos: 0

The 2021 runoff has started with slowly rising lake levels since March 21.

Mild temperatures and occasional rain showers have quickly melted the low elevation snowpack away and drained some of its water into creeks and rivers. As a result, Shuswap Lake levels began to rise slowly but steadily by a total of roughly 10 cm (4 in) as of today. Furthermore, most of the snowpack at lower sun-exposed mountainsides is gone as well but most of the snow water has been absorbed by the slowly warming up soil. Most mountain service roads in those areas are now mainly free of snow up in altitudes of up to 1,200m (4,000 ft).

Current conditions are very similar to early April of last year. Shuswap Lake levels are nearly identical and air temperatures are more or less the same as well. However, the current snow depth on the 4 snow pillow stations within the Shuswap watershed is now lower than last year; especially in the southern regions of the Hunters Range and Silver Star Mountain. However, those mountain areas contributing most of the water during the final runoff stages (Hunters Range and Celista Mountain) are just over a foot away of matching last years snowpack for this time period.

The weather forecast predicts continued cooler temperatures well below 20°C until at least mid of April. Some more rain or rain showers are expected over the next 2 weeks which most likely will add some new snow to the alpine snowpack. Therefore, the start of the main runoff will likely be late again, leading to a similar rapid lake level rise with peak levels comparable to last year. And, similar to last year, Shuswap Lake will once more very sensitive and reactive to periods of rain or rain showers close to its peak.

At this time we do not expect major flooding this year. However, spill-overs and some standing water should be expected in floodplains and flat beaches along the Shuswap Lake and Shuswap River shoreline. Once we reach closer into the main runoff shuswaplakewatch.com will review and re-evaluate the situation and outlook in this regard. However, without your support and contributions we certainly will not be able to monitor the 2021 runoff as closely as last year.


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