Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kansas Blizzard Aftermath

It looks like Christmas morning at Ralphie's house in the Wichita area this morning. But looks are deceiving. Southbound Interstate 135 north of Wichita is closed due to accidents blocking the road. Westar Energy reports 8,600 homes and businesses without electric service.

The official snowfall at the NWS in Wichita was 6.5 inches, lower than my earlier forecasts (7 to 14 inches) for this storm (revised downward Sunday night). Two foot drifts are present in the western part of the Wichita metro area and the rural Butler Co., there are drifts to three feet. The highest report I have seen in the immediate area is eight inches.

February, 2012 2013, is the snowiest month in the history of Wichita where official records go back to 1888. We've had 21 inches. Our average snowfall for an entire winter is sixteen inches.

Finally, our friends at Klingenberg Farm produced another wonderful video about the Blizzard of Oz II and what it was like out on the Kansas range. You'll enjoy watching.

3 comments:

  1. Mike,

    I'm a civil engineer and land surveyor. I find it difficult to see how snow accumulation can be measured to the nearest tenth of an inch.
    In surveying we measure ground elevations to the nearest tenth of a foot.

    What do the error bars look like with mearsureing snow depth?



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  2. @donndublin: Everything you wanted to know about snow measurement but were afraid to ask: http://www.cocorahs.org/Media/Training/Training_Snow.html

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  3. Mike,

    Thanks for the link. I didn't see anything about error bars. I've studied error theory and can see several areas error in the procedures.

    When measuring snow depth on the snow board, there's potential for judgment error of the placement not subject to wind erosion and drift. Also refraction error (being unable to get a perfect eye level) and snow displacement from the yard stick being placed in the snow. It seems each one of those error bars would be more than 1/10th". I don’t know if it’s significant but there's also temperature expansion and retraction as there is with metal tapes we use for land surveying.

    In the picture of the guy holding the glass gauge and reading to the nearest 1/100th it appears he wasn't holding the glass level making those error bars several hundredths.

    When I first read the 14.2” second to 15”, I wondered if they were measuring the same thing. I also notice that most of the amounts from the smaller towns and rural areas are reported to the nearest inch which I think are more relatively accurate.

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