When looking Weather Station readings from the National Weather Service website, what does the term "Snow Interval (inches)" actually mean? 6 hr and 24 hr readings are obvious, but I can't seem to connect the dots to "Snow Interval".

For an example, look here.

  • $\begingroup$ Odd that it's not in the glossary there - might be worth emailing and letting them know that, they might fix it, or at least tell you what it is. I'm not sure, and it's difficult to tell from the data, but I suspect it's something to do with snow density (gleaned from here). $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ It could mean the amount of snow that has fallen consistently up to that observation time $\endgroup$
    – user889
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


Email response from Alex Jacques (Programming Support - MesoWest):

The exact interpretation can vary between data providers to MesoWest, but in general it refers to the amount of snow that has fallen on an "interval board". In several cases, stations have boards where snowfall is recorded, and then the board is wiped clean at set intervals (sometimes every 6 hours, every day, etc.). It is a complementary way to measure snowfall from a storm system in addition to a total snow depth reading, so often snow depth and snow interval are paired together for stations in MesoWest.

EDIT: Why do we need snow intervals? https://what-if.xkcd.com/104/ explains: as more snow falls, the existing snow on the ground gets compressed. To measure snow depth consistently, the "snow board" must be cleared at regular intervals.

  • $\begingroup$ Instead of posting an email (including email addresses) could you rather summarize what was said and who said it? I'm sure Alexander did not expect his email to be plastered all over the internet. $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ I'll ping him, but I thought the email address (and email list address) would be useful for followups, and I explicitly mentioned to Alexander that I was quoting a stackexchange.com question. $\endgroup$
    – user967
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 0:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.