The May 1 snow survey shows snowpack ranges from well below average to record setting in Old Crow

The Government of Yukon Water Resources Branch has released the May 1 Yukon Snow Survey Bulletin and Water Supply Forecast. This is an important survey for Yukoners as it helps forecast water levels and flow conditions across the territory. Using these findings, the Government of Yukon and its partners can better prepare for potential flood risks.

Overall, the survey found that the snowpack ranges from well below average across the central Yukon to record high in Old Crow.

The Porcupine River Basin snowpack is well above average at 182 per cent of historical median, setting a new May 1 record maximum for the basin and a new record for Old Crow. Similarly, the Peel River Basin and Alsek River Basin snowpacks were well above average.

Many other basins experienced significant snowmelt and had well below average snowpacks on May 1, including the Central Yukon River, the White River, the Stewart River and the Pelly River basins. The Upper and Lower Yukon River basins were close to average while the Teslin and Liard basins were below average.

In regions with well below average snowpack, lower than average freshet peak water levels are expected. Across the south, freshet peaks may still be close to or slightly below average. Above average freshet peaks are expected in the Peel River, Alsek River and Porcupine River basins.

The May 1 snow survey indicates that there will be low freshet flood potential for most of the territory, while flood potential for Old Crow is considered high for both breakup and freshet.

Snowpack is one risk factor for high flows, water levels and flooding during the spring breakup and snowmelt period. Spring weather, the timing and progression of snowmelt and precipitation events are also important drivers of flooding regardless of snowpack levels.

With the heightened flood risk in Old Crow, the Government of Yukon, through the Emergency Coordination Centre, is working in collaboration with the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and other partners and agencies to develop flood preparation and response plans for a range of scenarios for Old Crow. As the community prepares for a potential flood, proactive measures are being implemented to be prepared to respond.

People can find details at www.yukon.ca/emergencies.

Quick facts 
  • 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 observations for 52 locations in the Yukon and five locations in the neighbouring areas of British Columbia and Alaska.

  • Snow Water Equivalent is the amount of water released from the snowpack when it melts.

  • Freshet, or spring freshet, is when rivers and lakes rise and peak in response to spring snowmelt. The freshet can last several weeks.

Media contact 

Mara De La Rosa
Communications, Environment
867-456-5565
mara.delarosa@yukon.ca

News release #: 
24-231