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Hilberg's Tips -- Snow - Trace, Zero or NA?
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about snow measurements the next time you see flakes fly.
If you observe flurries at your location, but nothing accumulates on the ground or ends up in the gauge, you should report a Trace for precipitation AND a Trace for new snowfall. Remember, if you observer it it's a trace - it doesn't not have to fall in the gauge. If there is any snow showing on the ground at observation time but it is not measurable, then also report a Trace for Total Snow and Ice on the Ground.
If you are measuring snow during the winter, it is a good habit to enter a zero for new snowfall each day when you do not have snow and if you did have precipitation. In fact, it's a good idea to do this year 'round. (If your precipitation is zero, snowfall is automatically set to zero.) Total Snow and Ice on the Ground should also be a daily observation, whether or not it has snowed in the past 24 hrs. This is the total amount on the ground at your observation time. If there is no snow on the ground, enter zero. If there is less than one half inch or coverage is less than 50 percent, then enter a Trace for Total Snow and Ice on the Ground.
Some observers choose to not measure the depth of new snow during the winter. If you are not measuring snow, then leave the New Snowfall field as NA. A zero in any field implies a measurement.