Sunday, January 9, 2011

Accurately measuring snowfall

With snow falling across the Mid-South as this is typed, many folks are trying to figure out how much snow they are actually getting. This is not a complicated matter and anyone with a little common sense and a ruler can do it! Here are some steps and tips to help out.

The best way to measure snow is on a snowboard, or some type of large flat board like a cutting board or plywood, preferably 24" x 16" or larger. If you don't have one available, measure on a flat surface, not on the grass (unless the grass is very short or you have bare ground).

Preferably, take several measurements from various locations and average them. Measure using a standard ruler or yardstick and provide your measurement in tenths of an inch (quarter of an inch will do, but tenths are preferred).

Measure away from structures like buildings that could affect the amount due to wind currents or drifting. Do not measure under or around trees as the branches will "catch" some of the snow and your measurement will be low. Do not measure on thick grass. Your ruler will extend down into the grass, below the snow.

Get down close to the ground so that you are measuring at eye level. Looking from above leads to enhanced measurements.

If you use a snowboard, it's a good idea to mark it with a small flag or reflector as it will likely get buried by new snow.

To get new snowfall since the last measurement, clear off a small section of your snowboard each time you measure. On subsequent visits, measure the previously-cleared area for "new snowfall" and the untouched area for "total snowfall."

Hopefully these tips will help you in measuring your snowfall and enjoying the winter weather even more!
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