Friday, November 21, 2014

Working on the snowfall challenge over the weekend...


Yesterday Regular Reader Ramón made a great suggestion:  Let's not solve the problem today, but work on it over the weekend and give people some extra time to work on this.  

That's a great idea.  I'm traveling at the moment (hence, the question) and I could use the extra time as well!  

As I mentioned, the first part of this problem is to find a data set (or sets) that will hold the data we need.  

There are lots of ways to do this.  Here are a couple of options: 

1.  Use a commercial weather provider.  Wunderground often has data sets available from individual weather stations.  Look for the "weekly" data in a table, and download that.  (I already knew that Wunderground had such data, so I just did a search for [Wunderground] and went from there.) 

2.  Use a government agency.  The US National Weather Service has snowfall data that they publish.  Example data for Nov 13th.  Canada has a similar service with data for provincial weather stations as well.  To find these data sources, I searched for [ snowfall data US weather service ]  and [ snowfall data Canada provincial weather service ] 

Now you can just scoop up the data from these sites and fast forward to figuring out the visualization! 

Snow on! 


  1. I just saw Dr. Dan's latest post about different sources which I have used. I have gathered all my data on a spreadsheet however I can see looking at the numbers that they are either inaccurate or they mean something different than I expect. The numbers fall far short of what I see being reported in news articles and weather maps. Are others getting good data?

    1. Rosemary I think the problem may be that the news media are reporting the heavy snow in Buffalo when in actuality the most snow fell south of Buffalo. There you will find the incredible amounts of snow. Anne and I had to search for towns south of Buffalo and then get the data for those towns. Hope this helps!

    2. This is a good point. The points I selected MIGHT NOT be the best to capture the extravagant snowfall in the greater Buffalo area. Note that you can always add more points to your dataset--that's up to you. But Debbie's right about this--most of the heavy snowfall is southwest of downtown Buffalo. (Remember also that I spent 7 years living in Rochester, NY, about 60 miles east of Buffalo. I used to live with the lake effect snow, so I really understand how strongly localized it can be. It can be strikingly local. This is the effect I think we're seeing.)

  2. I have issues with downloading data. Even tried filetype. Also, tried to find a Global site with the data. Now, I am sure it will be better. I tried sites that feed Weather apps and I guess snow has maybe a special name. I read for example, that can be called solid precipitation (need to verify this)

    Have great weekend, Dr. Russell with Snow on and also Frozen.

    This is my draft until yesterday.

    [Mapmania snow]

    I found Map with Boston Snowfall and there they mention data source.

    [Snowfall database]

    National Weather Service
    The NRCC databas

    [snowfall accumulation database]
    [snowfall values]
    National Climatic Data Center.

    Lake Effect Snow

    [snowfall canada statistics]

    [global snowfall data]

    [Meteorological Service of Canada]

    Snow Video Buffalo

    1. While searching for more data.

      Snowfall totals:
      65 inches in 24 hours: The highest snowfall total has been recorded in Cheektowaga, which received 65 inches (165 centimetres) in 24 hours. That much snow in 24 hours may rank among the top five fastest snowfalls ever in the region, according to National Weather Service meteorologist David Church.
      Between 1 and three feet of snow is expected to fall on Thursday, which could bring the weekly snowfall total for the region close to the yearly average: 93.6 inches (nearly 238 cm), or nearly eight feet (2.4 metres).

      Read more:

      Buffalo snow: By the numbers and with video

      Greatest 24-hour Snowfall on Record for the U.S.?

      Winter Storms, Infographic

      Historical Snowfall. No included our states.

      Where can I find historical snowfall data? Includes formula to convert water to snow

      Snow Reports

      For Debbie and Ann
      [snow accumulation historical data]
      U.S. Daily Snowfall and Snow Depth Data Haven't found the way to add data and only work with the numbers we need.

  3. my mind wanders when snowbound…
    off topic, but may be of interest, regarding Yosemite… am still wowed by TIL - Fred has his own snowy fiefdom in NY [southwest of the Buff] ;•) — Fredonia
    snowy Buff, also a Fred…
    Muir/indigenous peoples/fire
    Eric Michael Johnson Google+
    EMJ twitter
    related -
    Chimps Wired
    fwiw -
    NOAA climate normals
    golden snowball