Delaware Snow Monitoring System
In collaboration with the Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS) staff, the Delaware State Climate Office developed the featured climate tool for the month of December, which monitors snowfall across Delaware. The monitoring system has been in operation since the winter of 2006-2007, and was specifically developed to assist the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).
Using sonic snow depth sensors at 18 DEOS stations across the state, real-time snow depth is tracked during snow events. An algorithm specific to the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia region uses the snow depth data to estimate total snowfall at all 18 sites. This is especially important for DE because in accordance with the DelDOT Snow Removal Reimbursement Program, the state reimburses homeowners associations for plowing costs. The amount of reimbursement depends on the amount of snow that falls, making the snow monitoring system ultimately responsible for the allocation of hundreds of thousands of dollars during major snow events. The snowfall estimates derived from the snow depth measurements compare very well to observations made by the National Weather Service spotter network and CoCoRaHS observers. In addition to the real-time snow measurements, the website has links to the DelDOT snow removal webpage, where reimbursement information can be found, as well as maps of the DelDOT maintenance areas, etc.
Engaging DelDOT directly in the development of this tool has proven to be extremely fruitful, as DelDOT has been pleased with the usefulness of the utility. For the AASC community, this is a good example of the benefits of reaching out to stakeholders prior to climate tool development.
Each month, an AASC-developed climate tool will be featured from our “Climate Tools Database”, expanding on the short description already listed in the table.
Assistant State Climatologist OWSC