U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Weather
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 05-15-2017, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
176 posts, read 109,727 times
Reputation: 130

Advertisements

In multiple cases across the United States, I have noticed snow depth readings that don't seem to accurately represent the surrounding areas. This is also seems to be true to a certain extent with snowfall as well, but it is more pronounced with snow depth readings.

One example of this is Chicago, where Midway Airport generally reports more days of snow cover than O'Hare despite recieving virtually identical snow totals and the presence of noticeably colder temperatures at O'Hare. This point is furthered by including records from Barrington, a suburb in the same direction of O'Hare, but further. The temperatures and snowfall are similar to O'Hare, although they are slightly colder. Barrington recieves around 60 days of a 1+ inch snow cover per year, whereas O'Hare is around 45 and Midway is at about 50. For some reason, O'Hare seems to misrepresent the snow cover days in the area unless there is something I am missing.

The next example is an individual occurence, however it clearly brings into question snow depth data. Following the second March snowstorm this year in Philadelphia, Philadelphia International Airport last reported snow cover with 2 inches on March 17th. The Franklin Institute downtown had a stretch of snow cover that ended the day before with only a trace on the 16th. I happened to be on a trip to New York during the storm and was on an Amtrak train travelling South through Philadelphia just past noon on the 19th. A consistent snow cover lasted from NYC to South Philadelphia, with the train passing within two miles of both recording sites. This was not simply piles on the side of the tracks, but rather a near complete coating. The two photos attached were both taken by me on March 19th approaching downtown Philadelphia. The snow even appears to be covering the tracks, an area where snow often disappears with a few inches on the ground.

The point of this post is to discuss whether weather records accurately represent the snow cover. Also, I would be interested to discover why these records can be misleading. Another question I have long wondered is what exactly does a trace of snow depth look like; would it generally come close to covering the ground or would it just be a few small patches of snow? I understand the parameters of when it should be recorded, but am curious as to what a trace of snow would appear like to somebody living a normal life in the city the weather station represents. Although I have experienced snow multiple times on trips such as the one in March, I have limited experience with it as I live in a warm climate. However, it has long been an interest of mine and I will be moving to a colder climate within the next year and a half.
Attached Thumbnails
To what extent are snow depth readings accurate?-20170319_124047.jpg   To what extent are snow depth readings accurate?-20170319_124053.jpg  
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-20-2017, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
75,404 posts, read 58,997,593 times
Reputation: 13488
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianpmcdonnell17 View Post
To what extent are snow depth readings accurate?
Snow depths at the official NWS Climo sites across the U.S are accurate because there is officially an NWS employee going outside and measuring the snow depth every day at 7am(12z). They also melt that to get the liquid amount sitting on the ground..

There are other reporters in the field (mostly volunteers) that report snow depth as well and that helps fill in the gaps on the map. It would be Euphoria if we had actual measurements from every single city but we don't.

Then there are the Satellite measurements. In todays era the Satellite can pick up snow cover. But the actual depth from it is tough but will give a good sense where the snowpack is.

Not sure which maps you're looking at but just ask me for links to some if you need them

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianpmcdonnell17 View Post
Another question I have long wondered is what exactly does a trace of snow depth look like; would it generally come close to covering the ground or would it just be a few small patches of snow?


I have limited experience with it as I live in a warm climate. However, it has long been an interest of mine and I will be moving to a colder climate within the next year and a half.

A Trace of snow is simply 1 of these 2 things.


1. Snowflakes are falling and not sticking.
2. Snow is falling, sticking in some areas, but nothing measureable. (under 0.10")
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Weather
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top