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Snowpack Jan 21

The first snowpack report of the season has been published by the BC River Forecast Centre, and unsurprisingly basins across the province are above normal levels.

The report is based on measurements taken on January 1, 2021.

The Middle Fraser Basin, which encompassed the Merritt area is currently at 93% of normal, compared to just 66% last year at this time.

River Forecast Centre Hydrologist Jonathan Boyd joined Q101 to breakdown the numbers in the Nicola Valley.

“Most of the province is ahead of last year, however, 2020 had a pretty wet January so that’s when the snowpack would catch up,” said Boyd.

Only one local station reports snowpack levels in January for the area, that being Lac le Jeune.

“It’s extremely high, it’s at 152% of normal. But take that with a grain of salt because it’s one that is one the lowest snowpack side. The normal is 70 mm of snow, water equivalent and it’s at 106 mm,” added Boyd.

“The Brenda Mine location, it’s in the Okanagan but it’s on the way to the lake on the Connector, it’s at 128% of normal,” said Boyd.

While an exact number for the Nicola is not available, Boyd estimates the area is between 120-130%.

While the numbers are higher than last year at this time, Boyd confirmed it’s too early to begin predicting possible floods.

“Flooding revolves around the weather conditions at that time,” said Boyd. “I think we were pretty lucky last year where we didn’t see the high-pressure ridge where you get rapid melt.”

The River Forecast Centre updates the snowpack figures in BC every month through the winter and into the spring.


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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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city merritt council

This evening Merritt City Council will have an opportunity to discuss and debate the city’s current snow removal procedures.

The discussion comes following an open letter by CAO Sean Smith to Merrittonians saying the city needs to do better.

The presentation will be led by Smith and Charlie Henderson, Manager of Public Works.

As the meeting is closed to the public due to COVID-19, Director of Corporate Services Greg Lowis addressed how residents can address the item.

“If they have items that they want to have put in front of the council, that they normally would have spoken at the beginning of the meeting, please send them to me before the meeting starts on Tuesday. I will make sure any document submitted before the meeting will be presented to the council,” said Lowis.

Also on the docket is approval for the borrowing for the Fire Hall expansion, the naming of the economic development committee, and the possible deferment of the Council’s annual inflation-related raise.

The meeting begins at 7 pm and can be watched online.



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Special weather statement in effect for:

  • Coquihalla Highway - Hope to Merritt
  • Coquihalla Highway - Merritt to Kamloops
  • Okanagan Connector - Merritt to Kelowna

A wintery mix is expected over the highway passes of southern BC today through Wednesday.

Expect mixed precipitation and rain falling on wet snow today. The rain will then change back to snow tonight or early Wednesday.

Coquihalla Summit: Snow will change to rain this morning and back to snow after midnight. About 5 to 10 cm snow expected this morning with 30 mm of rain this afternoon and evening. 15 cm of snow can be expected on Wednesday.

Allison Pass and Helmer Lake: Similar trend as Coquihalla Summit but with lesser rainfall and snowfall amounts.

Okanagan Connector: The pass will likely remain above the snow level with total snowfall amount of 15 to 25 cm expected by Wednesday afternoon.

Rogers Pass: 15 to 25 cm of snow before changing to rain late this evening. Periods of snow on Wednesday with another 5 to 10 cm.

A strong warm front will bring a lot of moisture and increasing snow level to southern BC today and tonight. The trailing cold front will move across the region from the northwest to southeast on Wednesday, lowering the snow level and producing more snow over the highway passes.

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bc news

- Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are reporting on three periods. From Jan. 8 to 9, we had 538 new cases. From Jan. 9 to 10, we had 507 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we had a further 430 new cases.

"This results in a total of 1,475 new cases of COVID-19 over the three-day period, for a total of 58,107 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 5,220 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 358 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 72 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Currently, 7,313 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 50,541 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Since we last reported, we have had 287 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 736 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 59 in the Island Health region, 217 in the Interior Health region, 173 in the Northern Health region and three new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

"To date, 59,902 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia. Our focus is to ensure we safely deliver the vaccines as quickly as possible to communities across the province, using all available supply.

"There have been 22 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,010 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the pandemic.


Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest COVID-19 figures in BC.

(Previous numbers in brackets)

New Cases – 1,475

Total Cases – 58,107 (56,632)

Active Cases – 5,220 (6,118)

Patients in Hospital – 358 (358)

Patients in ICU – 72 (75)

New Deaths – 22

Totals Deaths – 1,010 (988)

Vaccines Administrated – 59,902 (46,259)

Health region breakdown of new cases

Vancouver Coastal – +287

Fraser – +736

Island – +59

Interior – +217

Northern – +173

Outside Canada – +3

More to come.

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Yellowhead Road and Bridge is expecting a heavy weather system to come in Monday evening, January 11, 2020, and into Tuesday morning. Heaviest snowfall expected for the Coquihalla Summit (South). Snow becoming heavier around 6-7 pm and carries on Eastward through the area. Expecting rather large snow accumulations for the area with snow becoming moderate at times through the night before becoming light again around 1 am then picking back up after 4-5 am.   

  • Highway 5 South from Merritt to the Snow Shed Hill – Anticipated accumulations of 10-20cm tonight and 5-10cm Tuesday.
  • Highway 97C – Okanagan Connector – Potential accumulations of 5-10cm tonight and into the morning with another 4-8cm tomorrow.
  • Highway 5 North from Merritt to Lac Le Jeune - Anticipated accumulations of 4-8cm tonight and another 4-8cm Tuesday.

Snowfall will be service area-wide, so please drive to conditions. Plow trucks will be out removing snow and restoring traction as well as putting out chemicals to help prevent icy conditions. When flashing lights are on, our trucks are in “Winter Work Mode” and require extra room to perform their necessary duties. Remember to never pass a plow truck on the right and road conditions in front of the plow truck will be worse than behind it.


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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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