Snowfall Verification in 24 Hours?

September 6, 2019 // Article by: Kevin Hopler

Not So Fast According to the Weather Experts!

As the calendar transitions into the fall season, our meteorologists at WeatherWorks are focused on the efficiency in preparation and delivery of our Certified Snowfall Totals (CST)® service to our clients. In today’s world of instant gratification from social media platforms to Amazon Prime delivery for shopping, we are often confronted with the same request… can’t we have the totals within 24 hours? The quick answer is obviously yes, however, it's not that simple. The true solution involves the accuracy and integrity of our service, which your billing process heavily relies on.

Sure, there are times when some reliable data is available immediately after the storm, but in order for WeatherWorks to remain the industry leader in providing accurate and reliable snow / ice verification to over 3,000 clients, the certification process always requires more than the desired 24 hours. Internal research indicates that WeatherWorks maintains an astounding 0.10% (one tenth of a percent) discrepancy rate out of 390,000 reports delivered during the 2018-19 season. A discrepancy is defined as a total that required an adjustment after being published due to further research. It is fair to assume that number would be exponentially higher with 24 hour published reports.    

The first problem with the 24 hour methodology is simply due to the data that is available. Don’t risk your company’s reputation by utilizing inaccurate totals! Figure 1 below shows you a timeline of the available data. If CST reports are published in 24 hours you WILL be missing some of the more reliable observations and totals. Second, it takes time to extensively review and document the entire storm from start to end. The scientific review process that our professional meteorologists employ would be inherently rushed. Even the more "reliable" airport measurements that report their total immediately following a storm have often been revised more than 24 hours after the storm, which can result in hundreds if not thousands of dollars in billing differences.

 

When our meteorologists create our Certified Snowfall Totals® reports, they collect, analyze and quality control a vast array of data from various public and private sources which include but are not limited to: our own snow spotters, NOAA official storm spotters, airport measurements (ASOS), Cooperative Observers, government agencies, colleges / universities, social media platforms and online forums. This data is then analyzed for spatial and temporal consistency using both objective tools (RADAR, web cams, liquid equivalents, contouring algorithms) and subjective measures (terrain, elevation), ensuring no biased observations are included in the analysis.  Finally, the quality controlled dataset is used to generate snow or ice totals at a ZIP-code level.

WeatherWorks may not assure you the fastest totals in the industry, but you and your clients can rest easy knowing that our Certified Snowfall Totals® service left no stone unturned.  We will leave you with accuracy above all else backed by our double check certification process. As always, we encourage you to contact us at 908-850-8600 anytime you have a question or concern.

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