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    Snow accumulation gauge?

    It's relatively rare for the Seattle area to get snow, but yesterday we did, and I was guessing 1-1.5 inches.

    Which got me thinking -- I have a rain gauge (part of the Netatmo weather station), but I don't recall seeing any *snow* gauges.

    I was trying to think of how this would work. I would assume a tube about a foot-two feet high. LED's on one side, with corresponding sensors on the other. So, if if a sensor can't see its sensor, then you know the snow has risen to that level.

    Does such a beast exist commercially?

    #2
    We have little snow in London these days but your post sparked my interest. I was first thinking of a vertical plastic pipe with a series of screws as sensors along its length. As snow falls, it covers each screw in turn which would provide a resistance relative to the bottom screw. This is similar to some rain sensors used to detect rain with copper/gold strips.

    After Googling it appears most snow depth sensors use ultrasonic.

    There is a commercial sensor here.

    Someone made a 1-wire snow depth sensor here.
    Jon

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      #3
      Originally posted by jon00 View Post
      We have little snow in London these days but your post sparked my interest. I was first thinking of a vertical plastic pipe with a series of screws as sensors along its length. As snow falls, it covers each screw in turn which would provide a resistance relative to the bottom screw. This is similar to some rain sensors used to detect rain with copper/gold strips.

      After Googling it appears most snow depth sensors use ultrasonic.

      There is a commercial sensor here.

      Someone made a 1-wire snow depth sensor here.
      Ultrasonic makes more sense. Depending on the moisture content of the snow, and the temperature, a resistance device might be hit or miss. What about a homemade device using a series of IR-LEDs and photo-transistors instead.
      In addition, a tube might have to be rather wide to catch a representative amount of snow. Sometimes it snows sideways around here (wind) with drifting in one location or another.
      How would you empty such a thing? Some years we get very little snow in Nova Scotia; other years a lot. Last year we had storms dump upwards of four feet in a night. It added up big time. My driveway markers are six feet high... I lost them by the time spring came.
      Real courage is not securing your Wi-Fi network.

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        #4
        In my case the screws would be on the outside of the pipe...it was just a convenient ridged structure to drill through something. As for resistance it is a go/no go situation. If the snow is not touching there will be no resistance, if it is, there will. This method works fine with rain devices but does depend on impurities in the water/snow.
        Jon

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          #5
          Originally posted by jon00 View Post
          In my case the screws would be on the outside of the pipe...it was just a convenient ridged structure to drill through something. As for resistance it is a go/no go situation. If the snow is not touching there will be no resistance, if it is, there will. This method works fine with rain devices but does depend on impurities in the water/snow.
          Wouldn't have to necessarily be a pipe. It occurred to me two spaced columns might work better. That way you're not depending on the snow entering the top of the tube.
          Real courage is not securing your Wi-Fi network.

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            #6
            Not sure why you keep thinking the snow is entering the pipe. It is not, the screws are on the outside and the snow would build up around the pipe. It could be anything insulated.
            Jon

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              #7
              I've been looking at building something similar for the last few years, but haven't done so yet, mainly due to the challenges associated with it. Snow's resistance and compressability varies wildly and there are no standardized tests defined as to how to measure, except for water content which is done by melting it. There's heavy wet snow, light fluffy snow, light non-fluffy snow, etc. How long is it allowed to sit for while measuring it, how do you deal with wind blowing it away from where it landed, Ultrasonic works better for certain type of snow, but not well for light fluffy snow. IR type sensors like Mike mentioned was what I was leaning towards, but the challenge of emptying the measurement area needs to be overcome. I was thinking of a heating plate which would melt the snow after a certain period of time which could then also be used to measure water content.

              Cheers
              Al
              HS 3.0.0.548: 1990 Devices 1172 Events
              Z-Wave 3.0.1.262: 126 Nodes on one Z-Net

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                #8
                Measuring snow is somewhat approximate. I use a simple gauge that has inches and feet on a vertical scale. The problem is that a sequential 12 inches of snow may never result in a change in snow level of 12 inches because of compaction, both of the newly fallen snow and the snow already on the ground. So, it will tell me how deep the snow is, but almost nothing about its makeup, nor 'how much snow fell last night'. To do that involves rather elaborate apparatus that is shielded from wind, but not in a way that causes excess accumulation.

                I've mostly given up and just manually enter the measured snow depth from my gauge once each day, and "guess" at the amount of snow that fell in the prior 24 hours. It's not "official" but at least it gives me a record.

                There are also gauges that melt the snow to measure the water content, that's considerably easier, but doesn't provide information on snow depth.

                https://www.google.com/search?q=snow...h=613&dpr=1.88
                Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548, NUC i3

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                  #9
                  Here I have a heated Davis rain gauge. So I can tell how much precipitation from snow there is, but I am not able to tell how high of a snow buildup the precipitation is causing. I don't worry about that part, however I did brainstorm once how to do it. I was thinking to use a wood platform of sufficient square size to collect a representative amount of snow. This would be placed at ground level. Then, several feet above this, would be a thin arm which suspends an ultrasonic distance sensor. This would then tell me how high the snow was. As little snow as I get where I live, I decided to skip it.

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