Some BC lakes and rivers are strikingly dry ahead of spring melt (PHOTOS)

Mar 24 2023, 3:50 pm

Some lakes and rivers in BC are looking very dry right now ahead of the annual spring melt, leading some residents to wonder what’s going on.

Kim Swerdferger shared some eye-catching photos of Harrison Lake this week, when her dog was able to run much further onto the sandy lakebed than she’d ever seen before.

“I’ve never been when the water has been this low,” she said.

dry harrison lake

Kim Swerdferger/Shutterstock

Up in Kamloops, it’s a similar story.

“I am standing in the middle of what should be the Thompson River,” Ellen Monteith said. “It is extremely low this year.”

dry thompson river 3

Ellen Monteith/Facebook

She shared photos from the dry riverbed, proving she’s able to stand where deep water would normally be flowing.

dry thompson river

Ellen Monteith/Facebook

Nigel McInnis, a senior public affairs officer with BC’s Ministry of Forests, which oversees the River Forecast Centre, confirmed many regions in the province are experiencing below-normal water levels right now.

Although late winter is generally the time that Harrison Lake and the Thompson River are at their lowest, they’re even drier than usual this year as BC had such a dry fall that was followed by a cold late winter. As a result, so much of the snow is still frozen up in the mountains.

“With the upcoming freshet season the water levels in rivers and lakes are expected to rise in the coming weeks due to snowmelt,” McInnis said.

The River Forecast Centre indicated that this year’s La Nina could mean more snowfall later in the season and delayed snowmelt in a March 1 snow survey and water supply assessment.

February was drier than normal for the South Coast and Southern Interior, but soon the snowpack will begin to melt. The River Forecast Centre’s bulletin says a gradual warming is the least risky, and that prolonged cold followed by an acceleration to warm weather can exacerbate flooding.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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