8.5 Snowstorm dataset development

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 5:00 PM
Room 15 (Austin Convention Center)
Michael F. Squires, NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, Asheville, NC; and J. H. Lawrimore, D. A. Robinson, M. Gerbush, and T. Estilow

Snowstorms have a large societal and economic impact on the nation with sectors of the economy dependent on transportation especially impacted. It is difficult to quantify these impacts because detailed economic data is not routinely available. The Regional Snowfall Index and the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale use the area of snowfall, amount of snowfall, and population information to estimate societal impacts. Both of these indices are produced operationally at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center using the Snowstorm Dataset which is now being made available to the public. The dataset consists of over 500 storms dating back to 1900 and new storms are added operationally each year. The dataset includes daily snowfall and total snowfall at each station for each storm. It is believed that this dataset is the only source of comprehensive starting and ending dates of significant snowstorms back to 1900. This paper describes the storm selection methods and quality control used to construct the dataset. Descriptive statistics showing the frequency and areal extent of snowstorms by decade are provided. The Snowstorm Dataset is useful for researchers interested in the spatial and temporal distribution of snowfall. The dataset is also useful for emergency managers who want to investigate historical snowstorms in their region. The data will be available as a Web Feature Service for GIS applications or as an ASCII file for more general use.
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