The Government of Yukon Water Resources Branch has released the March 1 Yukon Snow Survey Bulletin and Water Supply Forecast. The March 1 survey confirms snowpack levels are above to well above average in most major Yukon watersheds.
Record snowpack was observed in the Central and Lower Yukon River Basins (Carmacks and Dawson regions) and the Pelly River Basin. The highest snowpack for this time of year was observed in the White, Teslin, Peel and Stewart River basins. The Liard River Basin was near the historical maximum for this time of year. The Upper Yukon River Basin (Southern Lakes), Porcupine River Basin and Alsek River Basin were above average.
Above average spring breakup and snowmelt flood potential is anticipated in most of the territory.
Snowpack is one risk factor for high water flows, water levels and flooding during the spring breakup and snowmelt period but spring weather is also a critical risk factor. The timing and progression of snowmelt and precipitation events are important drivers of flooding regardless of snowpack levels.
Every March, April and May, the Government of Yukon conducts Yukon-wide snow surveys to help forecast water levels and flow conditions across the Yukon.
The Snow Survey Bulletin and Water Supply Forecasts provide a summary of winter meteorological and hydrological conditions for major Yukon watersheds.
The bulletin provides long-term snowpack averages, monthly data and current snow depth and snow water equivalent (SWE) observations for 52 locations in the Yukon and five locations in the neighbouring areas of British Columbia and Alaska.
Snow water equivalent (SWE) is the amount of water released from the snowpack when it melts.
The March 1 snowpack observations provide insight into the development of the snowpack, with the April 1 snow survey typically representing peak snowpack.
The next snowpack survey will be conducted on April 1, with the findings publicly released mid-April.