"So how much snow did we get?"
A good question and some might answer that with, "enough to shovel", or "too much!", or even "not enough."
When it comes to the official total, what will go down in the record books, we have to pull out the trusty old ruler, and sometimes the yardstick.
But there is a little more to it than that. Here's a couple things you want to keep in mind to get that official total.*
#1- Find a good place to measure the snow on.
Ideally, use a snowboard, and no I’m not talking about the one you use on a ski slope. I’m just talking about a piece of wood, simple as that. Make sure it’s big enough, 3 feet by 3 feet would be good.
Some other places that would work would be a concrete slab like a driveway or sidewalk. One thing to keep in mind there, sometimes the snow will melt when it lands on the concrete, so you might not get the best reading. But say it starts and stops snowing when the temperature is 15 degrees, don’t worry about any of that snow melting, concrete would work there.
The top of a car also works.
Also, don’t measure on grass.
But if you want to be official, get yourself a snowboard.
Your snowboard should be in an open location. That means no trees nearby and it should be a good distance away from any structures, like your house. At least 10 feet away, 20 feet from anything should be plenty of room.
This is where it gets a little tricky. Let’s say it’s windy, and as we all know, if it’s snowing in Wisconsin, it’s probably windy. Some of this goes back to the location part, but you want to be measuring far enough away from things that would create drifting. Find a location where the snow is going to accumulate uniformly and that should reduce the error in measurement. But in the case of a windy snow event, the key is to get multiple measurements and then average them together. This is probably going to mean measuring on more than just your snowboard. A sidewalk, patio table, driveway, or car are a few examples. Take as many measurements as possible and not all them just in the places you see a big snowdrift.
*There is another part of the official technique that takes a little more work. It gives you the liquid equivalent for the snowfall. For this you’ll need a standard rain gauge that can also catch the snow. Before it snows, remove the funnel on top of the gauge and the inner measuring tube. Place that gauge somewhere near the snowboard. At the same time you measure the snow on the snowboard, take the rain gauge with the newly fallen snow inside of it, and melt that snow into water. Then measure that amount of liquid and that is how you get the liquid equivalent of the fallen snow.