What? Snow at Meacham Airport?
But that's what you read Thursday morning if you were logged onto some Websites maintained by the National Weather Service.
Turns out, however, that even though it was cold and wet, there was no snow -- even though a weather service sensor at the airport said so.
The device is part of the Automated Surface Observing System, or ASOS, which has replaced human weather observers at airports around the nation. (The ASOS shown in the NWS photo, right, is in Salinas, California.)
Aviation officials started installing the systems during the mid 1990s, but they were met with criticism from some air-traffic controllers who complained that they were misreading actual weather conditions, according to archived news reports.
Apparently one glitch lingers.
"Some times it gets confused," said Steve Fano, a weather service meteorologist.. "Any time precipitation is really light and temperatures are below 38 degrees, the sensor doesn't know if it's rain or snow.
"So it calls it snow."
The weather at 9:30 a.m. was 37 degrees with light drizzle over some areas.
Fano reminded that snow can occur when it's 40 degrees, but it has to be really cold aloft, and that wasn't the case on Thursday.
"It's not really snowing," he said.
-- Bill Miller