There's snow in the forecast -- but do you know how to accurately measure it?

(Photo: Eric Scott, Townsquare Media)
(Photo: Eric Scott, Townsquare Media)

Is it as simple as sticking a yard stick into a pile of snow on your patio? Yes and no -- sorta.

If you want to really accurately and really properly measure how much snow fell at your house, there are a couple things you need to do, according to the National Weather Service.

First, you'll need to measure snow on a "snow board." What is a snow board? It's a white board or piece of plywood that's painted white (more on that in a minute) that is ideally 2' by 3' or 2' by 4'. If you don't have a snow board (What?! You don't have a snow board?! Gasp!) you can use an outside table. Whatever you use, it has to be out in the open away from fences, buildings, and trees.

Why do you have to use a white board? It should be white to minimize the heat from the sun that could melt the snow. Makes sense.

Oh, and since finding a white board surrounded by white snow might be hard to find, you should put a flag or something near it so you know where to find it. That also makes sense.

Once your snow board or table is ready to go (and it snows), you should ideally measure the snow every 12 hours to the nearest tenth of an inch and remember to clear off the snow board after you measure it. When the snow stops, take one final measurement, add everything up, and there's your "official" snowfall total.

Are you following along so far? See, you thought you could just stick a yard stick in the snow and see what fell.

Well, actually you can -- if you do it the right way...

If you want a quick and easy way to tell everyone on Facebook how much snow fell, take a yard stick, go out in your yard, measure the snow in several different spots (at least three) and average them. Make sure you're not measuring snow drifts or spots near a building or fence which might impact your average.


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