Measuring water content of snowfall: I was asked how to determine the water content of snow without melting it. Well, here is one way. It turns out that 1.00 inches of water, from an official 4 inch diameter gauge, weighs 7.2 oz. (0.50 inches weighs 3.6 oz, etc.) So, if you take your 24 hour snow sample and weigh it with, say, an accurate electronic food or postal scale, you can avoid having to melt the snow to measure its water content.

Formula: (weight of sample in oz) / 7.2 oz = # inches of water.

This formula works only for 4.0 inch (inside) diameter containers- like some coffee cans.

Don't forget to brush off any snow sticking to the side of the container and subtract the dry weight of the container holding the snow sample to obtain only the weight of the sample.

You can always measure the water content of snow in this manor:

Water equivalent is measured in a calibrated cylinder such as the all weather rain gauge available at: This instrument requires one to melt the snow, sleet or hail to get the melted water equivalent. If using the all weather gauge, you can just take off the input cone and inside measuring tube and let the snow collect inside the main tube. At the time of the net, take the gauge inside and melt the snow either by letting it warm up (could take awhile) or adding a measured amount of warm water to the snow sample and melt it that way. Donít forget to subtract the amount of water you added!

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