Using radio stations in a snow network
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Using radio stations in a snow network

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    An extremely frustrating problem common to forecasters in the field is the lack of surface-based weather observations when and where they are needed. This problem can be most acute when dealing with snow situations. The lack of stations which routinely report snowfall amount and intensity is often a contributing factor in the underestimation of a snowfall event. Lack of observations makes for an incomplete grasp of the weather situation. At times only one or two timely and reliable reports could complete the picture and make the difference between a quick update and riding on a busted forecast.

    These frustrations encouraged the WSFO in Minneapolis to seek additional means of obtaining snowfall reports. The District warning Point Offices manned by the State Highway Patrol have provided us with much good information over the years. Some reports have also been provided by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In the fall of 1982 we established a rather unique winter weather network composed mainly of out-state radio stations. This snowfall network had very meager beginnings from less than a dozen radio stations and a few other interested individuals. It was also not very effective. It is still far from perfect but our 29 radio stations and other callers scattered across the state do provide us with weather information that we would otherwise not have.

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