Measuring snow: How to get the most accurate reading after the storm

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Measuring snow is one of the most important things to do for studying winter meteorology. It helps us forecast, understand snow better, and maybe most importantly, it helps us verify our snow forecasts. 

SUBMIT YOUR SNOW MEASUREMENTS HERE!

Snow may be one of the hardest variables to measure in weather, and there is a specific way to measure snow accurately. The first step is finding a site for your measuring. This should be somewhere away from buildings and trees where there is no drift in a flat area like the middle of a yard.

Next is the construction of a snow board. This is a 24″ by 24″ board made of plywood, ideally 1/2″ thick or more. Paint the board white. This ensures that the board does not absorb light and heat.

Put a stake in the ground to mark where the board is. Have a yard stick handy to measure the snow. You can also use a rain gauge to measure snow ratios. Find a more detailed description here.

A good rule of thumb is to measure snow every 24 hours when snow is on the ground or falling. You can use one part of a board for daily measurements and another part for snowpack. Make sure to measure snowfall immediately after snow ends to get the most accurate storm total at your location.

Measuring on grass can give a false number that is inflated. If there is no snow board, take three measurements and average each one.

This is how to measure a snowfall that is off and on throughout the day.

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