How to Predict Snow

The regions of the world that face snowfall every year are good tourist attractions. The local residents of these regions have developed their own adaptation techniques to adapt to such weather. As snowfall is a regular part of their life, their lifestyle is not much disturbed by it because they are prepared for it. Living in these regions, they need to plan, and before snowfall they need to hoard all the regular supplies they need. After snowfall many a times, the roads close down, the transportation is affected badly, food supplies are difficult to procure, etc. These people thus stay prepared, and they find out techniques that help them understand how to predict snow, so that they can have everything in place before the snowfall. If you are a resident of such a region, or planning a trip to such a region, you can benefit a lot if you know how to predict snow. The techniques mentioned below will help you do so.

How top forecast snow?

  • You get updates from the weather forecast department, but if you wish to know the weather even before they forecast it, you would need a couple of things that would help you predict the snowfall. These are computer models, radiosonde, a good speed internet and computer network, and wet bulb thermometers.
  • To predict snowfall, you must first understand the weather conditions in which snowfall takes place. When the temperature in the atmosphere is at a point, at which the water freezes or below that point, it leads to formation of snow. Along with this temperature, the level of moisture in the air should also be high. It is this moisture that will lead to formation of snow crystals. The ground temperature should be less than, or at least 41 Fahrenheit (F).
  • Once you understand the atmospheric conditions that lead to snow formation, next you have to understand the various mathematical models that are used for prediction calculations. There are many mathematical models available over the internet. Have a look at these, and get familiar with one or two easy models.
  • Next step is studying the thickness patterns and airflow in the higher levels of the environment’s atmosphere. The standard benchmarks set for atmospheric pressure by the meteorologist are 500millibars, 700millibars and 850millibars. In the COOK method developed by one of the weather forecasters, the thermal patterns in the atmosphere at a zone having a pressure of 200millibars is studied, and it is then modified to a zone having an atmospheric pressure of 700millibars.
  • Using the wet bulb thermometer at different pressure reading areas, note the temperature shown in the thermometer. The areas having a pressure reading between 850 to 1000millibars will be the most critical, and its temperature has to be noted using this thermometer. If the temperature on the wet bulb thermometer reads 23F or below, it is then you can expect snow. However, there are exceptions. This is not the case always.
  • You will find a chart on the weather forecasting department’s site. These charts will have readings of different altitudes and different geographical latitudes. The data that you gathered using the pressure readings and thermometer should be correlated with this data on the charts, which will give you and atmospheric thermal map. Using this thermal map, you can predict whether there would be snowfall.
  • If the thermal map gives a step indication of snowfall, then following the instructions on the charts, predict the level of liquid that would come down as rain and then convert to snow. Once you predict the level of liquid, convert it to predict how much snowfall can be expected.
  • There is a ratio for this conversion. This ratio is 1:10. This means that 1″ rain is equal to 10″ of snow. For wet snow, the ratio will be 1:3 that is one inch rain is equal to 3 inches of snow, and for powdery snow it is 1:100- 1 inch rain is equal to 100 inch snow.

You can thus predict snow by using some mathematical models and understanding the weather conditions and weather maps. However, you must remember that even an expert’s prediction go wrong at times, because the weather might change at any point, even after the prediction.  Still a prediction helps you to stay prepared, and not run at the eleventh hour.


Get familiar with various mathematical models used to predict snow and the atmospheric patterns. Also, learn how to read thermal maps and other weather maps. This knowledge will help you predict correctly.

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