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Snow measuring technology involves ruler, board

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by F. Brian Ferguson The National Weather Service in Charleston uses a white board in the yard of their office to take accurate measurements of snowfall.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by F. Brian Ferguson
The National Weather Service in Charleston uses a white board in the yard of their office to take accurate measurements of snowfall.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Although the National Weather Service has advanced technology when it comes to predicting and reporting weather, the way they monitor snowfall is fairly basic, with a simple board and a ruler.

The meteorologists lay a piece of plywood painted white in the middle of their office’s yard in Southridge, and measure the snowfall total at least five times throughout the day, said Jonathan Wolfe, senior meteorologist for NWS in Charleston.

The board is painted white so it doesn’t take in heat from the sun — that ensures the snow on the board doesn’t melt.

There was controversy over this method in Washington, D.C., after snowfall totals from Reagan National Airport seemed low following this weekend’s storm.

Reagan National Airport reported only 17.8 inches while Dulles International and Baltimore-Washington International Airports reported 29.3 and 29.2 inches, respectively. According to the Washington Post, the National Weather Service at Reagan National Airport lost their snow board in the midst of the blizzard, and had to estimate snowfall totals.

 Although Reagan National Airport lost their snowboard, it’s not as easy for NWS in Charleston to misplace their board…

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