We are pleased to announce a new addition to our array of measurements – snow moisture content. In the past, moisture content measurements had to be done manually as the cold winter weather would freeze our rain gauge. As a result, we rarely performed these measurements (we’re wimps and don’t like the cold!). Now we have a heated rain bucket that is capable of melting snow at a rate of 0.25 inches of liquid precipitation per hour – that means over 2 1/2″ of average snow in an hour!
This will allow us to more accurately track the benefit of the moisture we receive from snow. As you know from shoveling it, the moisture content of snowfall varies greatly. The white, fluffy snow that ski areas love so much really doesn’t do much for moisture as it only contains about 5% of moisture. A heavy, wet spring snow like we see can have 15% or more. On average, Colorado snow hits around the 10% mark. No matter how much moisture is in the snow, we don’t get as much true moisture from it as you may think.
So, when you visit our site and see “rain” during the winter, that is the moisture content of the snow you are seeing.