The Maine Cooperative Snow Survey
How Much Snow is Out There?
Visit the Department of Conservation, Maine Geological Survey, Snow Survey page for a tutorial on how snow is measured.
The Maine Cooperative Snow Survey collects, interprets, and distributes information on the depth and water content of Maine's snowpack in the late Winter and early Spring, when the danger of flooding in Maine's rivers and streams is greatest. The data are obtained from a variety of sources, including:
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Geological Survey
- Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Forest Service
- National Weather Service - Gray office
- National Weather Service - Caribou office
- New Brunswick Environment and Local Government
- Ministere de l' Environnement, Quebec
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
- PDI New England, Inc.
- PPL Maine, LLC
- Kennebec Water Power Co.
- Domtar, Inc.
- Brookfield Renewable Energy
- Sappi Limited
The data are analyzed by staff from the Maine Geological Survey and U.S. Geological Survey, and maps are prepared showing the water content in snowpack for the State. This information is transmitted to the National Weather Service (NWS) for use in preparing flood potential statements and running flood forecast models. In the event of a significant flood, the NWS would use the data to refine its estimates of flood crests. The data are also distributed to the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and, through MEMA, to county emergency management officials.
Additional information on snowpack in Maine can be found at the National Weather Service Caribou Office web site on their snow information page. The National Weather Service Northeast River Forecast Center in Taunton, MA, has regional snowpack information on their web site. Select the snow information option from the sidebar menu.
Advances in remote sensing and satellite technology are allowing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide regional overviews of snow cover and water content for the Northeast , but until significant improvements are made in this technology, the maps you can view from this page provide the most detailed estimate of the rapidly changing water content in Maine's snowpack.