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Sunday, October 23, 2016

As most of us expected, we awoke to a whole different world this morning.  It was snowing lightly and there have been strong, gusty winds most of the morning, but things seem to be quieting down a little now.  The temperature is up to 35 degrees, so the snow will be compacting and eventually melting.  However, with many trees still having leaves, there have been power outages in some areas due to limbs being weighed down over power lines.  It is beautiful, though, and even shoveling off the heavy, wet snow from our deck, it was kind of nice.  I measured four inches of snow, and measured 1.16 inches of precipitation in the measuring tube.  Combined with the nearly two inches of precip we got the day before, we should begin to make up some of the deficit.  The snow will melt slowly and that will let it soak in to do some good rather than just running off into the streams.

I took these pictures a few minutes ago - two of the same views I took yesterday during the rain.  There is little color in our back yard this morning (top picture), and looking towards the pond (bottom) looks mighty dreary and wintery.

I was talking to Bo Keach yesterday, and she wasn't aware that I report precipitation every day to the CommunityCollaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).  They are based at the university of Colorado and the information volunteers like me provide goes to the Nation Weather Service and other weather-related organizations to assist in various forecasts and calculations.  I volunteered in the spring of 2009, and every day since, have sent off my report.  This is a picture of my equipment for the daily report.  I have two of the glass tubes - one is on the post and the other is the alternate so I have to make only one trip - bring in one to measure, leave the empty one. The four-inch tume has a smaller tube you can see next to the orange ruler that fits inside and there is a funnel that feeds into it.  The inside tube holds the equivalent of one inch of rain.  When that is full, it runs over into the larger tube so I can measure it.  I remove the funnel and inner tube in the winter and report only what snow falls into the larger tube.

When I am away for a few days, I send a multi-day report when I return.  In the winter, I head out every morning to measure new snow depth and bring in a core sample of the snow which I then melt and report the amount of water it contains.   I also report the total depth of snow on the ground each day, and about once a week take a core sample of that.  I'm not quite as faithful about that core sample, but I can measure the depth every morning from our window by the post I have set up in the back yard.  

The first couple of years I did this, we had huge snow amounts - I mean, like four feet in the back yard.  My problem was getting over the snowbanks with my snowshoes to go to a level spot where I could measure.  It was not easy, and as the plowed snowbanks grew, the harder it was for me to climb up and over, hauling all the equipment I needed to cut a core that deep.  I only did it a few times during those winters, but I learned that a 4 inch piece of pvc works pretty well, except it's sometimes hard to keep the snow in it when you pull it back up. It's not rocket science, but it's fun.

So I will now get the post in place in the back yard - I'm sure this snow will melt and I'll be able to do that easily later, and we'll see how this winter goes.

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