FARGO — One of the key components to the spring flood forecast is knowing how much water is in the snow.

Snow cover is not solid ice. The flakes accumulate with a lot of air around them. Even old, settled, partially melted snow like this is usually more than 75% air.

The National Weather Service uses a snow-water content computer model to make an estimate based on weather conditions.

But it’s the job of the official weather observers to corroborate the modeled data with actual measurements of snow-water content.

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You can click on the video above to see how they collect that data.