Below was published by CoCoRaHS, Nolan Doesken, Colorado State University
Snow was widespread yesterday — first snow of the year for many of us. Well over 1000 reports of fresh snowfall were reported. Stevensville, Michigan took the prize for heaviest snowfall with 11″ at a couple of CoCoRaHS stations near there (good job!).
Most of you handled this first snow well — remembering to report the water content, the accumulation of new snow and the total depth of snow on the ground (a subtle but important difference). But others weren’t quite ready yet and decided not to report.
Measuring snow is not hard, but neither is it easy. It can blow and drift, stick to your gauge, melt, settle and even avoid your gauge (dry, windblown snow is deflected around gauge receptacles). It takes some discipline and practice to get good at measuring snow.
In past years I’ve written long step-by-step instructions on how to take accurate measurements. But with each passing year, fewer and fewer people take the time to read detailed instructions. But we have alternatives. I’ve mentioned them before, but I’ll do it again — Please take a look at our Snow Measuring Instructional Videos. These short animations were developed to be both fun and instructive.
Finally, keep in mind that winter measurements mean that it could be cold, slippery and even dark when you go out to take measurements in the morning. We’re not all as young and agile as we once were. Even though our measurements are important, it is not worth risking slipping and falling. Feel free to take some time off from CoCoRaHS during the cold, dark and icy days of winter, and then start up again next spring.