National Weather Service says everyone can help document snowfall

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 4:07 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Snow is in the forecast and the National Weather Service (NWS) in Fairbanks wants everyone to know that they can help track snowfall around Fairbanks, and provide important data to the meteorologists. Armed with only a flat surface and ruler, anyone has the potential to measure snowfall in their area.

Alex Young is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service who said that people can put out a board or some other flat surface before the snow starts falling to collect snow. Then, once the snow stops he said they can determine how much snow fell with a ruler that measures down to the tenth of an inch. NWS encourages people to measure as close to the end of a snowfall as possible to prevent snow from melting or settling and providing inaccurate measurements.

Young said that after someone gets their reading, “You can report that to the National Weather Service and you can do that through the website, or you can also comment on things like Facebook or Twitter.”

He said when reporting the totals to include a photo of the measurement, the amount of snow, and a location. This data is can help meteorologists get a better understanding of weather patterns around Fairbanks. “What we like to know is in different parts of town, whether it is in the valley or the hills, we want to know what amount of snow they get to verify our events.”

Young added that anyone can do this, but suggested it’s especially good to do with children as it can be used as a teaching tool to help them understand the weather and how it is measured.

Young said that after it stops snowing to clear off the board to make sure it is ready to measure the next snow that falls. He said you can also have an area that isn’t cleaned off to help measure the total snow depth for the winter.

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