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INDIANAPOLIS -A major winter storm is heading to Indiana over the next few days. In order for meteorologists to understand what is happening in real-time, we need your help! Snowfall reports are so important to give accurate, up-to-date information as fast as we can.

Snowfall measurements are typically more difficult than rainfall measurements.

Where to measure snowfall

Before the snow begins, finding a place to measure snow is the most important task. Your snow measurements should come from an area that is flat and away from any buildings where snow could drift from.

Tools to use to measure snowfall

There are a few household items you can use to measure snowfall. The first is a piece of plywood. Take the plywood and lay it on flat ground. This will be your snow board. It’s also a good idea to put a tall marker near it so you know where to measure.

The second tool is a ruler. Much like the board, you want to measure on a flat surface away from buildings that could cause snowdrifts.

Courtesy: National Weather Service

How to measure snowfall

Sam Lashley, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Indianapolis says, “People should avoid measuring in drifts, find an area that is representative, take about 10 measurements and take an average. Be careful when putting a yardstick or ruler in the ground, want to go right to the top of the grass layer, not all the way down to the hard ground surface to avoid inflating numbers.”

Measuring snow as it happens is helpful. For the most accurate total, measuring snow as soon as it ends is the most accurate since the snow will begin to melt and settle after it ends.

Measuring snowfall at eye level will give you the most accurate measurement, instead of looking down at the ruler at an angle.

Courtesy: National Weather Service

Where to report snow measurements

Lashley also has some tips on how and where to report measurements, “We ask people to submit reports directly to their local NWS office, with pictures if possible, via our social media accounts or email. That would be @nwsindianapolis for social media and nws.indianapolis@noaa.gov for our email.”

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