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Hey Ray! Accurately Measuring Snowfall Amounts

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- After a snowfall, we all like to brag about how much fell, so it is important to measure snow properly.

While it sounds like an easy task, you must follow some rules.

Hey Ray
(Photo Credit: Ray Petelin)

The best way to do it is to use a snow board.

Not the kind of snowboard you see at a ski resort.

The snow board you need is a 16" x 16" board painted white.

Hey Ray
(Courtesy: National Weather Service Pittsburgh)

If you don't have that, a picnic table will work, too.

Just make sure these are at least 30 feet away from a structure.

This ensures you aren't measuring drifts, which is not a good representation of snowfall.

Measuring drifts falsely inflates your snowfall, because your measuring snow after wind moved it into a pile.

That is sort of like measuring a pile of snow you shoveled!

After it snows, measure to the nearest 1/10", then clear the board.

When the snow accumulates some more, make another measurement later. This is called the "New Snowfall" measurement.

What if you want to figure out the total depth? This requires an additional snow board, or measuring surface.

Instead of clearing this off after every measurement, have a second board or area just let it go.

When you make a measurement here, this is called the "snow depth."

Hey Ray
(Courtesy: National Weather Service Pittsburgh)

This seems like a lot just to get a measurement, but it is the most accurate way. There is a quick and easy way, though.

When you go for the quick and easy route, though, you sacrifice accuracy.

This will result in a good estimate, but not a great measurement.

Find a flat, solid area of ground and take three measurements, not in drifts.

Add them up, then divide by three. That average will be a pretty good snowfall estimate.

Hey Ray
(Photo Credit: Ray Petelin)

Don't measure on grassy surfaces, though.

The grass holds the snow up, and you will end up measuring air, giving an incorrect measurement.


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