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How to accurately measure snowfall

Published On: Feb 11 2014 03:01:46 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 12 2014 08:28:14 AM EST

For the most accurate snowfall measurements, it is suggested that a snowboard be used. A piece of wood, painted white about 16" by 16" will work well. Other good alternatives include a spot on a wooden deck approximately 20 to 30 feet away from the house or a picnic table in an open, unobstructed part of the yard.

DO NOT MEASURE IN THE GRASS, as the snow amount will be inflated by the blades of grass.

MAKING THE OBSERVATION | Now that the snow has fallen, the following steps should be taken to get an accurate measurement. The two measurements that we need most from observers are new snowfall and total snow depth at time of observation.

NEW SNOWFALL |  This is the amount of snow that has fallen since your last measurement, or since the first flakes began to fall. You don't want to include any snowfall left on the ground from a previous event with this measurement. The snow should be measured to the nearest tenth of an inch on the snowboard or other collecting surface. If there has been a lot of wind blowing and drifting the snow, it may be necessary to take more than one measurement on the snow board or collecting surface and average the measurements together to get a more representative total. Once you've recorded the new snowfall, clean off your snowboard or measuring surface.

SNOW DEPTH | This is the amount of all snow on the ground and may include snowfall that has fallen in previous events. On your second snowboard, or on a flat piece of ground, measure the total snowfall to the nearest inch. Again, more than one measurement may be needed if there's been a lot of wind or some melting has taken place and the snow is not evenly distributed across your measuring surface. If more than one measurement is needed, average all the measurements and record the snow depth to the nearest inch.

SENDING THE REPORT Once you've measured the snowfall, we encourage you to send us your report. There are a couple of ways to do so:

Post it to our Facebook or Twitter pages.