The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority has compiled the February 2011 outlook of potential spring runoff conditions for the province.
The outlook identifies the potential for above normal spring runoff throughout all of southern Saskatchewan, with the possibility of well above normal runoff in the extreme southwest, for the area bounded by Kindersley, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and North Battleford, and for a large portion of the eastern agricultural area from Elbow to Yorkton, north of Weyburn to south of Melfort.
These conditions are linked to excessive summer and fall rainfall across the agricultural portion of the province in 2010, combined with above average snowpack conditions in the west and well above normal snowpack conditions in the east. Fall precipitation and the current snowpack across the northern forested portion of the province are at near normal levels.
Unfavourable weather conditions going forward, such as above normal precipitation and/or rapid snow melt, will increase the threat of high runoff and risk of flooding. Even with average weather conditions between now and runoff, some localized flooding can be anticipated. Below normal precipitation and/or slow snow melt will alleviate the threat.
The runoff outlook is based on soil moisture conditions at freeze-up and existing snowpack accumulations as of January 31. The outlook assumes average climatic conditions will occur through to the end of spring runoff.
The forecast is based on limited data and should be used as a general guide for large areas. Local conditions may vary significantly.
The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority will be preparing updated forecasts in early March and April.
The complete provincial runoff forecast, including basin summaries and estimates of flows for major rivers are available at www.swa.ca.