7 things you can measure snow with if you don't have a ruler

Items around the house come in standard sizes and can easily take the place of a ruler.

It’s estimated that more than half of Americans end up seeing snow during the cold winter months. Many of the events are well forecasted, but sometimes people are caught off guard and wonder how much snow they received. There are proper ways to measure snowfall, but sometimes finding a ruler isn’t practical.

For these times, here are seven ways that you can help gauge how much snowfall you received:

1) Beer can

The Institute of Beer says the standard-sized aluminum can is about 4.75 inches tall. And while using a beer can to measure the frozen precipitation may only work during the minor snow events, it does provide you the chance to have a cold one. Just remember not to leave the beer in the snow for too long, or else you could have a slushy mess.

2) Dollar bill

It might be time to break out that George Washington if you happen to wake up with a backyard covered in snow. The Federal Reserve estimates there are some 50 billion bills in circulation that range in value from $1 to $10,000. All denominations have the same dimensions and a length of 6.14 inches. The size makes the bills perfect for measuring those light to moderate snowfall events. We just advise you to not use this technique during a blizzard, or else your money may find itself in your neighbor’s wallet, courtesy of Old Man Winter.

3) Dunkin’ large coffee cup

Coffee lovers, you’re in luck! The 20 oz container from America’s favorite coffee chain comes in at a whopping 6.75 inches. With over 8,500 locations in the U.S., this substitute for a measuring device is likely only a hop, skip and jump away.

4) Computer paper

Have an essay due or some important project for work? Great! You likely have some standard paper lying around the house. Regular-sized computer paper comes in at 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches tall. The good news with this improvised measuring device is that if the meteorologists blow the forecast and don’t see any snow, you can make snowflakes out of it have your own winter wonderland.

5) Subway footlong sandwich

While there has been some debate over the years on whether Subway’s footlongs are really 12 inches long, we are going to take the fast-food chain at their word. If you attempt this measurement style, we advise you to keep the sandwich in its wrapper. No one likes a soggy bun.

6) Baseball bat

You likely have a piece of America’s favorite pastime lying around in the garage. An average-sized bat comes at around 34 inches in length. Certainly, if you are measuring the snowfall in feet versus inches, you had quite the snowstorm. And while you may not equate snow with baseball, there have been a few times that winter weather made an appearance at games.

7) Hockey stick

No other sport is as closely associated with cold temperatures than hockey. In fact, the self-proclaimed birthplace of the sport is in Windsor, Nova Scotia. This southeastern part of Canada can see more than five feet of snow a year. Hopefully, that amount doesn’t fall all at once, or else you’d have problems because the typical hockey stick is only about 36.5 inches long.

If your backyard sees more than 3 feet of snow, we are out of ideas for items that you can use to help measure the winter wonderland. We do suggest, though, that you snap a photo and send it to us.

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