© Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
Hobby meteorologist Fred Carberry uses a ruler to measure the snowfall around his home on Curling Street Monday.
Ask Fred Carberry how much snow has fallen in his yard this winter and he’ll tell you about 533 centimetres — give or take a few.
The Corner Brook weather watcher said that doesn’t include the roughly two centimetres that fell yesterday or any corn snow. With those added in, the number is up around 574 cm.
Carberry has been measuring snowfall amounts from his “own spot” on Curling Street on and off for 30 odd years.
“I just do a little bit of measuring in my own yard,” he said, stressing his recordings are far from official.
For Carberry, the winter hobby started out of frustration with weather reports.
“I just got kind of tired of hearing weather people say you’ve got two to five centimetres coming and we get 10 to 12,” he said. “We don’t get an accurate measure here in Corner Brook. We have no weather station, and what happens is we either get Stephenville’s count or we get Deer Lake’s count.”
But, he said that’s not accurate for the city, which sits in a bowl of sorts.
“Everything comes in over the top of the hill and it settles down in it,” he said.
So on a daily basis, weather permitting, Carberry takes a metre stick and measures the snowfall in his yard.
“There’s no way in the world you can ever get scientific on snowfall because of the wind and everything else.”
He has about eight spots that he measures, avoiding areas where there’s drifting, and takes the average of those measurements to get his daily totals.
Carberry said the count is really just for him and he doesn’t keep records — he just remembers the highs and the lows. Like the 561 cm he recorded in his yard back in the winter of 2002-2003.
“At least I get some idea,” he said. “It suits my purposes to compare from year to year. I know whether we’ve gotten more snow or less snow based on just my area.”
Carberry said he had basically abandoned the hobby for a while and only started up again the last few years. With a few mild winters and snowfalls below 300, he said it wasn’t even worth recording.
“But this year, when she started in October and then we had several more snowfalls in November I thought, ‘OK we may have a big one again this year.’”