Weather Blog: Measuring and Reporting Snow PROPERLY

Weather Blog

Your measurements and reports are important to us!

Hey everyone with the threat of snow looming on the horizon, the team and I wanted to take the time to explain to you all how to properly measure and report snow totals in your neck of the woods.

Proper measurements can really help the National Weather Service and us understand the impact a winter storm is having on our communities. Your reports can let us know if what we are seeing on radar is matching up with what is actually occuring on the ground.

Without further ado, here are some tips provided from the National Weather Service on how to properly measure snowfall.

Location, Location, Location…

One of the most important things to focus on is where you set up your measuring station. It needs to be in a location away from tall objects like buildings or trees and sheltered from the wind. These places can yield inaccurate measurements. Also make sure your measuring surface is flat.

When actually taking measurements, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Measure once daily at the same time and place
  • Round your measurement down to the nearest tenth of an inch
  • Wipe off the board after taking a measurement
  • Measure as soon as the snow stops to avoid inaccuracies due to drifting (this will be a problem for this storm), melting, and settling.
  • Read measurement off ruler AS CLOSE TO EYE LEVEL as possible

If You Don’t Have a Measuring Station, Average Your Totals

If you can’t make a measuring station, then take 5 measurements from different spots, add them, and average them together to get a more accurate picture of snowfall totals in your area. The more more measurements you take, the more accurate the representation of your measurement will be. Just remember to add all the measurements together and divide by the total amount of measurements.

Check out this graphic from NWS Tulsa for assistance in taking measurements this weekend into next week below. See the “Example Snowfall Average” for guidance.

Tips for Reporting Your Measurements

Here are a list of reporting criteria from the National Weather Service:

  • Safety is the number 1 priority. Dress warmly and only take measurements if safe to do so.
  • Measurement. Ex: 4 inches or 4″
  • Approximate location. Ex: 3 mi SE of Fayetteville
  • The time and date you took the measurement. Ex: 05:30 pm CST February 14, 2021

Once you have your report ready you can tag either our Weather Authority team or the National Weather Service on social media. We can pass your totals onto the NWS through our chat system or social media as well.

If you have the time please take measurements! They greatly assist the NWS and us with analyzing the impacts of these winter storms.

Stay warm and safe out there!

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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