How is snow measured?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
How is snow measured? 
Martin Johnson, Aurora

Dear Martin,
Many people think weather observations are taken with sophisticated equipment, but snowfall observations are taken just as they always have been — with a ruler. Snowfall must be measured in a representative location where the effects of blowing and drifting are minimized. If windblown snow cannot be avoided, it is necessary to average measurements in several spots to get an accurate reading of the snow depth. A snowboard — nothing more than a piece of plywood painted white — is placed on the ground or surface of old snow to allow for a precise measurement of new-fallen snow. The observer pushes a ruler into the snow until it reaches the snowboard and records the snow depth to tenths of an inch.

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