Potential spring runoff below normal in Saskatchewan
By Water security agency
Today, the Water Security Agency (WSA) released the 2017 preliminary outlook for spring runoff.
Most of Saskatchewan received below normal snowfall resulting in a below normal runoff potential across most of Saskatchewan. Many areas saw the snowpack almost completely melt or lost to sublimation in January due to above normal temperatures. This melting of snowpack would have saturated the soil surface, reducing the infiltration capacity available for the melt of any late season snow.
This is a preliminary outlook and the snowpack could continue to develop for another 6 to 10 weeks. Also, it is important to note that a majority of the province was wetter than normal going into freeze-up in November of 2016. Higher than normal precipitation going forward and/or a rapid spring melt could significantly increase the runoff potential.
Although the snowpack in most areas is below normal, even a below normal runoff could compound flooding issues in regions with closed basins as many of these areas are at well above normal or record levels following several high runoff years.