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El Nino weather pattern could hit BC, warmer weather expected

The El Nino weather phenomenon may be coming to BC, to hit the Earth, bringing in warmer temperatures later this year.

“What it refers to is kind of a band of the water off the equator in the Pacific Ocean, kind of off of South America,” explained Dave Campbell, the head of the BC River Forecast Centre.

Campbell said when the surface temperature of those waters is one degree above normal for three months, it’s characterized as El Nino, while La Nina is when it’s a degree below normal.

Dave Campbell, the head of the BC River Forecast Centre, says the effects of El Nino on BC can be varied.

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“We’ve been in this La Nina pattern, well in and out of it for the last three years, but it’s been working it’s way out,”

“It’s been working it’s way out. In a lot of ways the way things have been set have been La Nina in terms of the snowpack we have. We’re starting to see that increased likelihood of transitioning as we go into the Summer into that El Nino.”

For BC, Campbell says the effects tend to be pronounced more into the Winter time.

“We may be looking at the potential, as we go into next Winter, that kind of increased likelihood of a warmer Winter,” Campbell explained.

“That’s typically when we see that warmer trend.”

The BC River Forecast Centre’s most recent Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin, which came out on April 1st, shows the snow pack in our area is relatively normal.

The Upper Fraser West snow pack is around 111 per cent of normal, while the Upper Fraser East is around 87 per cent of normal.

“It gives us a perspective of how much water is going to come down,” Campbell said.

“The secondary thing is really the weather, so that can be a key driver in terms of how fast the snow comes down, but also can provide additional risk from rainfall and additional run off.”

Campbell noted we’ve been cooler than normal over the last little bit, but we’re starting to transition into the warmer Spring temperatures.

Campbell said the seasonal flood risk in the Prince George is lower than normal.

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