The National Weather Service is looking for volunteers to help with "Snow Spotting." Many of us are already NWS Storm Spotters and we've been trained to identify severe weather and relay this information to the local National Weather Service office. They are now requesting additional volunteers to help report winter weather precipitation, much like our CoCoRaHS volunteers do for rainfall. Here's some information from the NWS on how to get started.
What Are Snow Spotters?
The snow spotting program is an effort to increase our real time snow reports during and after snow events across north and central Georgia. The goal is to receive quality snowfall reports from our area to aid in the National Weather Service’s mission of protecting life and property. Snowfall reports, along with other weather phenomenon meeting specific criteria, can be sent to our office through online forms, social media or CoCoRaHS. Reports from snow spotters will be displayed on our website during and after an event. These reports will aid in verifying and refining of our current forecast along with improving future forecasts of winter weather in Georgia.
Along with reporting snowfall, spotters will be asked to report events listed here:
- Change in precipitation type (rain to snow, snow to freezing rain, etc)
- Snow Accumulation of 1 inch or more
- Heavy Snowfall Rate (example: snowing at 1 inch per hour)
- Significant Blowing or Drifting snow
- If the snow, ice, or blowing snow is having a major impact on travel
- If what is occurring is not what is in the forecast
- Anything significant that you think we should know about
There are a few easy and fast ways you can become a snow spotter! One of the easiest ways is to take the training offered by CoCoRaHS below (It’s free!) and then use our online Submit a Storm Report form. (Note: Including your contact information with the online form greatly improves the chance your report will make our final database, oftentimes we are interested in asking follow up questions.) If you are currently a CoCoRaHS observer, then you can report snowfall through the CoCoRaHS website. If you think there is something we should know about immediately, such as winter weather affecting travel and/or what is occurring is not in the forecast, you can call our toll free reporting hotline at 1-866-763-4466.
On certain occasions, we may call our snow spotters to solicit snow fall reports. We will only call at times you have given us permission to call. If you are willing to be called by us, please email us with your information.
We are most interested in snow amounts during and after an event. The program will key off of Storm Total Snowfall so be sure to report your Storm Total Snowfall (minus any snow already on the ground from previous events) when reporting snowfall to us. If you want to report sleet or ice, report that amount in the comments section.
An event is defined as weather associated with the same low pressure or storm system and may extend from a few hours to a few days. A break in precipitation of a day or more usually defines separate events. Other supplemental information that can be reported in addition to Storm Total Snowfall includes the following items:
- 1" or more of snow per hour
- 1" or more of snow during the past 24 hours
- When first measuring 2", 4", or 6" of snow
- Snow depth
- Any freezing rain or freezing drizzle
- Any thunder or lightning associated with winter precipitation
Your reports may occasionally be posted to our website on a Google map (not to street level accuracy). If you are interested in having a more precise location for your report, please email us with your address. If you know your latitude and longitude, you can also include that if you like.How To Measure Snowfall Please review the CoCoRaHS training that demonstrates how to measure snow in addition to the the Snow Measurement Guidelines for National Weather Service Snow Spotters (PDF Format). This document has everything you need to know from measuring snowfall and snow depth to reporting criteria.
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