Winter Weather Handbook: Let it Snow

Winter Weather Handbook

(WBRE/WYOU-TV)   Whether you’re saying “Let It Snow”, or “Oh, Please, No”, you want to be prepared for any winter weather ahead.

          But how do meteorologists anticipate the amount of snow we’ll get during a storm? Eyewitness News Weather Reporter Kristina Shalhoup has the scoop.

We’re getting to that time of year where the weather outside can be frightful…

“It’s very complicated actually,” said Dave Nicosia.

Aaaand frightfully difficult to forecast when precipitation comes into play.

There’s a chance you’ve heard that, in terms of how much precipitation to expect…

 there’s just this rule of thumb that 10 inches of snow is equal to one inch of rain, and that’s the 10:1 ratio you hear about a lot” Said Dave Nicosia\ NWS Binghamton

But while that ratio is sometimes useful, it doesn’t always ring true.

“We average more like 13 to one,” said Nicosia

There are a lot of factors that go into determining the snowfall ratio, like where a storm is coming from,

The terrain it’s passing over, and how much moisture it contains.

One of the most important determining factors, however, is the temperature throughout the atmosphere

“Not just at the surface, but all the way up. 10, 15 thousand feet!”

In a colder environment, the flakes that fall are generally drier and fluffier, and tend to give us a higher ratio, and therefore, a higher snowfall total.

“There are some snow storms where it will be 20 or 30 to one, and others where it’ll only be 7 or 8 to one,” said Nicosia.

On the flip side, when the atmosphere is warmer overall, and snow is wetter that ratio decreases, and we end up with a lower snowfall total.

But even then nothing is set in stone.

“We’ve had storms where the snow ratio changes during the storm!”

Making winter even more exciting in Northeast and Central Pennsylvania.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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