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Snow Board winter weather

February 12, 2017

How is snow measured by winter meteorologists around the country, including Michigan ? The use of a pre-constructed Snow Board of course ! The only way to get real snow event measurements  uses a raised platform, providing a hard surface, to put a ruler upon.

It is usually just a piece of plywood about ( 16 inch X 16 inch ) and painted white.  A dark-colored surface like a parking lot or driveway absorbs heat, and melts newly fallen snow. Taking a measurement in your yard will yield bad results,  as pockets of air at the bottom blades of grass, give erroneous high snowfall amounts.  


Being an official snowfall spotter is serious business, as the results are sent to the news media, and drive tourism for winter sports. The proper measurements are also used for disaster relief  funding when it becomes treacherous outside.

Where to put your snowboard is also a critical decision. You want a place that is convenient to get to. Ideally a spot that has an open 45 degree  angle to the sky from all directions. An open field is bad, as high winds will scrape fresh snowfall away. An area among houses and trees, providing some buffer is preferable. You may have to shovel a path, so think ahead.

There are rules to be followed, timing of measurements matters a great deal. Official daily snow observations are rounded to the nearest tenth of an inch and are reported at 7 am ; but measuring newly accumulated snow at this time may not necessarily represent an accurate total. For instance, if snow stopped at 3 pm and an observer waits until 7 am the following day to measure, the snow has time to settle, melt and drift.

When multiple snow events occur over a 24 hour period, the observer reports the overall maximum snowfall that accumulated on the snowboard during that time frame and waits until the 7 am observation to clear off the snowboard.




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