Dear Tom,
How is snow depth measured when it is windy and
the snow is blowing around?

Tommy George, Beloit, Wisconsin

Dear Tommy,
When it is windy and snow on the ground is drifting and blowing around, several measurements of snow depth are taken at representative spots and the average depth is reported.

The depth of snowfall is measured to tenths of an inch. Very light snow or snow flurries that do not accumulate to at least one tenth of an inch is recorded as a “trace” of snow. Also, snow that falls on wet ground but never accumulates is reported as
“trace – melted as it fell”.

You may wonder how long snow has to remain on the ground to be considered measurable. Frank Wachowski, a name that may be familiar to regular readers of this report, is authoritative when it comes to observing the weather and reporting it. He tells us there are no duration criteria for reporting accumulating snow. It simply has to accumulate to as least one tenth of an inch.