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It may already be meteorological winter, but the official winter solstice takes place on December 21 at 10:58 a.m. The season is just around the corner, which means snow, sleet, or freezing rain will regularly be in the mix in future weather forecasts.

It is only a matter of time before central Indiana will see our next measurable snowfall. The FOX59 Weather Team relies on snow totals sent in by our viewers during significant winter storms, and we thank you for reports!

This article offers a few tips when sending in snow totals to the meteorologists at the station and to the National Weather Service.

  • Be sure to find an open area that is level and away from buildings.
  • Utilizing a light-colored snow board (painted plywood works) will give you the most accurate reading!
  • Use a ruler to measure the snow in at least three different spots (ideally on a board or flat surface) and take the average of the measurements.
  • When you have the average, you will want to round it to the nearest tenth of an inch.
  • Make sure to read the ruler at eye level and not at an angle. Reading your measurement at an angle will give you an inaccurate measurement.

If you’re interested in becoming an official weather spotter for the National Weather Service, the Indianapolis Weather Forecasting Office is offering virtual winter spotter training sessions in December.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Sam Lashley says the classes will teach you about the different types of winter storms we see in central Indiana and the proper methods to report winter weather.

“We’re going to focus mainly on winter precipitation types, different storm tracks,” said Lashley. “Why we get those heavy, wet snow events or we get the light, fluffy snow. What to look for, what to expect, and what brings that to Indiana.” 

The National Weather Service of Indianapolis has four virtual training sessions this month. The classes will last about two hours. You must preregister for the sessions! The dates and times are:

  • Monday, December 6 at 6 p.m. EST
  • Saturday, December 11 at 11 a.m. EST
  • Thursday, December 16 at 1 p.m EST
  • Monday, December 20 at 6 p.m. EST

To sign up and to find out more information on the spotter training sessions, click here.