INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Ever wonder how the national weather service comes up with official snow totals? 24-Hour News 8's Daniel Miller found out.
You would think in this day and age getting an accurate snowfall total would involve expensive computers and high tech gadgets. If fact, it doesn't and chances are you own the simple tool the professionals use to get an accurate reading.
"We use the Doppler Radar to come up with where precipitation is," said Brad Herold of the National Weather Service.
Herold has a technical title. He's a Hydro-Meteorological Technician. He also knows all about the gadgets and instruments used to monitor the changing conditions.
"We use Satellite data. We use the GOES Network," Herold said.
When it comes to monitoring the snow, Herold said it's simple. They use a ruler to take accurate measurements.
"We have this that we sometimes refer to as the sword; it actually has a tapered edge and go up a lot higher in snow measurements," he said.
Herold took 24-Hour News 8 Anchor Daniel Miller outside the NWS building near the airport to show how simple it is. In the back of the building amongst satellites, rain gauges and censors is where they measure the snow.
"With somebody actually going out there, they can visually see where there are drifts, where there are bare spots; take many readings to get an average," Herold said.
Technicians take the readings off of a white board like to get the accurate readings.
"It reflects the daylight; it doesn't absorb as much heat because we don't want to melt what we are trying to measure," said Herold.
He said it's not all rocket science when it comes to understanding weather; its all about collecting what mother nature provides.
"Nothing beats ground truth..and actually going out there and getting a measurement," Herold said.
Herold said when it snows they go out and take measurements every six hours.
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