How much did it snow? We'll never know. Workers remove snow on the tarmac at Ronald Reagan National Airport, with the U.S. Capitol dome seen behind, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
How much did it snow? We'll never know.
Lexile

There was definitely a lot of snow in Washington, but just how much may never really be known.
 
According to The Washington Post, the number that will go down in the history books as Washington's official total is 17.8 inches. The level falls short compared with some other spots in the region, raising the question: Why the disparity?
 
The improvised technique used by a small team of weather observers at Reagan National Airport lost their snow-measuring device to the elements. That happened midway through the blizzard.
 
The mix-up may have kept the blizzard of 2016 from breaking into the region's top three snowstorms on record, based on accumulations. It prompted the National Weather Service to announce that it will be looking into the procedures used at Reagan National.
 
The National Weather Service has clear guidelines on how to measure snowfall for one simple reason. How much snow falls may determine whether additional relief is sent into a location after a major storm.
 
On Jan. 24, the senior weather observer at National, Mark Richards, stood by the accuracy of the reading, saying his team did the best it could under tough conditions.
 
"Everyone has to understand that measuring snow in a blizzard is a tough thing to do," Richards said. "We would like it to be as accurate as possible," he said. "But it's an inexact science."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is it difficult to measure snow?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (17)
  • maggiec-3-bar
    1/28/2016 - 10:41 p.m.

    It is difficult to measure snow because as they try to measure it, more snow could be falling causing there measurements to be wrong. This past weekend on the east coast, they faced one of the worst blizzards in the past few years. In paragraph 7 Mark Richards says "Everyone has to understand that measuring snow in a blizzard is a tough thing to do, we would like it to be as accurate as possible," he said. "But it's an inexact science." It is very hard for people to measure because as hard as they try to make it accurate, they just can't seem to find an efficient way to do it. I feel bad for all those people on the east coast because now they have to deal with a ton of snow which makes it hard for them to get to work, go to the store, go to school, etc.

  • brookes-r-bar
    1/29/2016 - 12:28 a.m.

    It is difficult to measure snow because it's hard to be precise with your tools, timing, and the conditions. "Everyone has to understand that measuring snow in a blizzard is a tough thing to do,' Richards said. 'We would like it to be as accurate as possible,' he said. 'But it's an inexact science." (stated in paragraph &7)
    I think this is interesting to learn about because for one thing I love the snow and it surprises me that nature can produce so much of it in a year.

  • brianag-6-bar
    1/29/2016 - 02:05 a.m.

    It is difficult to measure snow because during the blizzard the snow greatly affected their processors for measuring the amount of snow so they estimated that there was about 17.8 inches of snow. "How much snow falls may determine whether additional relief is sent into a location after a major storm." this quote also shows a major factor that affected the measure of snow. I chose this article because I was hearing a lot about this blizzard because it was all over the news so I decided that I would like to learn more about it.

  • justiny-2-bar
    1/29/2016 - 10:31 a.m.

    I think that it might be hard to measure snow because you can easily lose your equipment to the snow and the snow might just keep falling. When measuring snow they said that they want to be as accurate as possible and if you measure powder snow it might be taller than compressed snow. I didn't like this article because it isn't really interesting or surprising.

  • landonp-
    1/29/2016 - 02:22 p.m.

    It is difficult to measure snow for a couple of reasons. One reason is you might lose your equipment in a blizzard. It also might be snowing so the snow could rise and the height might rise too.

  • ravenm-bar
    1/29/2016 - 02:23 p.m.

    I think it is very hard to find out the exact amount of snow. on the world.

  • ravenm-bar
    1/29/2016 - 03:09 p.m.

    I really like the snow out side and how cold it is.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    2/01/2016 - 10:00 p.m.

    I think this should have reached the top three snowstorms on record because it was enough so that the measuring tools that were used in the airport were swept away. I cannot believe that the scientists estimated 17.8 inches. It should have been way more than that because it was enough to make the top three snowstorms on record. If the snow-measuring devices were more sturdy, then we would have the exact measurement.
    Why is it difficult to measure snow?
    Answer: It was difficult to measure snow because the snow-measuring devices were swept away.

  • caitlynk-2-bar
    2/01/2016 - 11:32 p.m.

    It would be difficult to measure snow because the scientists would have to make sure their tools were up-to-date or 100% ready once the storm hits. The reason that this storm did not make into the top storms was because even though the tools were in the right position they were not prepared for the storm ahead. I thought that this article was interesting because it proved that even the best of tools can still break. This article surprised me because I thought that the estimate, even without the fancy tools, would be more then 17.8 inches.

  • carsonb-2-bar
    2/02/2016 - 02:38 a.m.

    According to The Washington Post, a total is 17.8 inches of snow fell in the area during a recent storm in January. A team of weather observers at the Reagan Airport lost their snow-measuring equipment during the blizzard so they had to improvise their technique. The lost equipment may have kept the blizzard out of the record books.

    Snow-measuring is hard to do. An expert said; "everyone has to understand that measuring snow in a blizzard is a tough thing to do." I agree with the expert. Things like wind and where you take the measurement could really make a difference in the final total. In addition to this, I'm sure some of the snow might even melt before the storm is over.

    This was an interesting article. Measuring snow is not easy. I think the experts need to get some new and improved equipment before the next storm to measure the snow more accurately.

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