Thursday, January 17, 2013

What To Do On A Rainy Day

This past fall one of my fellow Master Gardeners, Ann, asked if I wanted to record rainfall.  Well, being the gardener that I am, I said that I already measured rainfall and kept track on the calendar function of my Google account.  She was talking about a volunteer group where you record your rainfall online.  I said, "Sure!".  This organization wants you to use a specific rain gauge, so if I was to join forces with this group I needed to buy said rain gauge.  This organization is CoCoRaHS, Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, & Snow Network.

CoCoRaHS is a  non-profit citizen based organization of folks across the country who keep track of precipitation and report it to their data log page on the CoCoRaHS website.  The only cost in joining is the rain gauge.  You send in your address and tell them where on your property you are going to place the gauge....roughly place it.  You will receive a password and a station number and your location coordinates.  It is important to make sure you are away from structures (house) and trees.  During the winter placing ours in the middle of the yard wouldn't be an issue, but in the summer it would be a bother to remove it every time you needed to move or when the irrigation system came on.

The data that is collected is used by National Weather Service, emergency services organizations, USDA, city utilities, teachers and students, hydrologists, and  many others.  It is nice to be a part of a much bigger volunteer group.   You can read more about it on their site.

We didn't want to have our rain gauge mounted on a 4x4 -- too big, so our idea was to mount a board on a fence stake and attach the rain gauge on that.  Seems to work.  It is important to make sure the gauge is level.  We do have a large area across the street that we could place it, but the reporting time window is between 7 AM and 9 AM.  Hi, my name is Janet and I don't get up that early.  I am lucky to get my rainfall amount by 9 AM, certainly don't want to have to go up to the street in my jammies to read the gauge.   So here it sits, along our driveway...easy to reach and empty.

The rain gauge has a cylinder inside the outer container.  The cylinder is marked with 1/100th of an inch increments.  The inner cylinder holds one inch.  When we have rain like today -- well over an inch-- it overflows into the outer container.  To read the measurement you take the inner cylinder out of the container and read the inner cylinder's water height.  If there is overflow into the outer container OR the water level is above your one inch line, pour it all into the outer container.  Then fill to the one inch measurement into the cylinder, pour it out, repeat until all the water is gone from the outer container.  The large outer container can hold up to eleven inches of rain, hopefully we don't get more than that in one 24 hour period!

After taking the measurement, you log onto your account and go to your data page.    The date is already on the form, you just add the time and the amount of recorded rainfall.   Hit submit data and you are done for the day.

From this form I like to go to the maps to see how varied the rainfall is in my area.  I am in Greenwood county, along the northern border of Greenwood and Laurens counties.


You can see the measurements vary.  It is fun to see just how much it does vary.   You can see the entire country....

When the weather is dry, I am not as pressed to submit a zero amount of rainfall as I am when we do have rain.  Tomorrow I am going to need my rubber boots to go out in the yard, today we have had more rain than we have had all month...

Are you a rainfall data recorder??  Do you want to be?  CoCoRaHS is always looking for more citizens to measure and record the precipitation in their area.   You can see from my map that there are places where more observers are needed.

Bird photo share time--- This is the little Brown-headed Nuthatch who was being so elusive last week.  He stayed on the suet feeder for quite a while for a nice long photo shoot.

He kept staring at me, I went to various windows to try and get a different angle.


Stay tuned and I will report our rain total for today....it is raining really hard, has been for the last couple hours, since it got dark.  Before it got dark I saw the cylinder was full, one inch of rain.  I am guessing a couple inches by the morning.
Just checked and CoCoRaHS has a blog-- http://cocorahs.blogspot.com/2013/01/winter-comes-to-southern-applachians.html  and a Facebook page--http://www.facebook.com/groups/2433443789/?fref=ts


©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

42 comments:

  1. I love my gauge! The best clear spot for my gauge is in the middle of the driveway! Not gonna happen. I think we've got it situated okay. I haven't signed on with CoCoRaHS yet, but I will. Thanks for the great how to!

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    1. Gail, Yes, I think the best spot for ours is in the middle of the driveway too. Please sign up and record your rainfall!!

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  2. That is really cool! I have several rain gauges on our property. I think it would be fun to participate! Thanks!

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    1. Karin, It is pretty cool, I know we gardeners have at least one rain gauge...might as well send in your readings.

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  3. I have been toying with the idea of doing this for several years. Procrastination has stopped me thus far. Your post may just encourage me as I like to see it all logged easily. Plus, the fact it holds more than 4" is great as we sometimes get a lot of rain and my gauge overflows. Really neat gauge!

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    1. Tina, you should do it!! Yes, that outer container is quite large. No worries about overflowing.

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  4. Whoa, I had no idea people do that! Why 7 - 9am though... yuck! You're a good person to keep up with that one. Love the nuthatch. :)

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    1. Eliza, they wanted it to be a uniform time frame for all the rain to be recorded.
      thanks, I love this little nuthatch.

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  5. Gardener/Meteorologist. You're a woman of many talents, Janet! Sounds like fun to have a decent rain gauge (unlike the cheapo, blight-on-the-visual-landscape kind that I've had on several occasions) and participate in a national reporting network.

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    1. DJ,aren't we gardeners a bit meteorologist as well? You ought to sign on board!

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  6. Very interesting. I'll investigate to see if there's a similar program in Canada. Plus, your nuthatch is delightful.

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    1. Helen, I am not sure if there is something similar in Canada, would be nice if so. My little nuthatch is fun to watch.

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  7. I love the idea of doing this but does it have to be between 7 and 9 a.m.? I have to leave for work every weekday by at least 6:30 a.m. Can you reoommend any rain gauges other than the official one you're using? I haven't had one for the past two years because of the severe drought where I live. I'm hoping I'll actually be able to use one this coming year....

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    1. Karen, hi! and welcome. I double checked and you can enter the current day's reading from 5 am until 9 am. (see my next post) I like this official rain gauge, it is sturdy enough for freezing temps and large enough that when that large volume of water comes, it doesn't overflow.

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  8. Janet,
    This is pretty cool I'll have to look into it further. Yesterday it was rainy and we were going shopping with grammy taking the handicap route. Noted 200+ Cedar Waxwing getting berries in a huge bush next to the building as we we walking by.

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    1. Randy, I think it would be great for you to do this. Great sighting on the Cedar Waxwings. Bet that was incredible.

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  9. This is a great service, Janet. I understand having to have the time window, but that makes it somewhat hard for those that work outside the home. It will be wonderful to see that finally there is a place where the information is compiled for all to see and many to participate. Your little bird has a lot of personality. Looks like you were caught in the act!

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    1. Donna @GWGT, I double checked the reporting time, it can be as early as 5 AM. The nuthatch let me take a lot of photos of him, I was worried it was stuck!

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  10. This from Aerie-el---
    Love science--glad you've found something fun to do on a rainy day! :)
    The photos of the nuthatch are amazing. Wow!

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  11. Perfect timing of this post, Janet. Received mine in the mail just yesterday. Still trying to decide where I should put it. Too bad I didn't have it over the past 2 weeks, it was so rainy and foggy, would have been busy with it!! The snow we were supposed to get never panned out but at least we have a sunny day today. I'm looking forward to putting my new 'gadget' outside and starting to record! I haven't yet registered it online, either. Will eventually get to that, (I hope!)...

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    1. Jan, hope you have signed up now and have figured out a spot to put the gauge. Registering takes just a sec!

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  12. Love this fact-filled post. Very interesting!

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    1. Marian, I imagine the river behind your house is flowing rapidly after that storm.

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  13. I don't have a rain gauge but I'm really intrigued. What a great idea.

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    1. Jason, go online and check it out, very easy to do!

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  14. What a great idea, to share data like that. Glad I am not the only one who would not be up and about in time to collect readings from far away... Is your drive sufficiently private that you can nip out in your jammies?

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    1. Janet, it is nice to share data and yes, looking at the wide range rainfall is interesting.
      My driveway is sufficiently private, heck, I could go up in my birthday suit and doubt anyone would see me. :-)

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  15. That project is a great idea -- the more data the better. The nuthatch is so cute!

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    1. Sweetbay, I agree, the more data the better. Yes, the nuthatch is cute isn't he?

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  16. I've been to their page and considered doing this but I don't feel like I can take on the responsibility right now. It looks like you're having a lot of fun with it. I love things like this.

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    1. Grace, the responsibility for me is to get up and outside before 9 AM. When it is cold or rainy, I am not keen on doing so.

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  17. Love this Janet...just got a rain gauge for my yard and hope to get better at keeping a record...maybe someday I can find time to then become part of this group...love that this is being done...

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    1. Donna@GEV, think you joining up with this group is certainly something to think about as you start your new stage of life.

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  18. Hmmm... I may have to think about this. My husband would love the statistics angle of this.

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    1. Tammy, think you could get the kids in your classes signed up or at least interested in this.

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  19. What a lot of info! Very nice. We only receive about 12 inches per year here so I suppose we'd be entering zero on most days. :-)

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    1. Kim & Victoria, Yes, perhaps you would but to record rainfall in low rainfall areas is still important.

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  20. I keep track with a rain gauge and jot the amount at my desk. I dont have much to jot down as we just do not get the rain anymore. We are next to Aiken county on the border so you see we miss the rain falls. But I know in time, the rain will again fall and our lake fill up. We have the brown headed nuthatches year round in our yard. They are the cutest little things. They have a cute chirp as well...

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    1. Skeeter, You could send in the amounts and be part of the group!! We are really close. Our neighbors went to the Old Edgefield Inn for lunch last week, really nice place.
      I love nuthatches!

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  21. Thanks for the info on CoCoRaHS--I plan to sign up.

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    1. Gene, so did you sign up? I think you would be a great asset for this group!

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