Rain Gauges: How to USE it Correctly? (User’s Guide)

rain gauges

Rain gauges are outstanding for many things, but one of their most popular uses is tracking the rain, and it’s probably the feature that’s been on their marketing page since day one. 

It isn’t just for tedious weather-watching, though. The way the system works is that it’s easy to set a rain gauge up, and you can also track your rain gauge’s performance over time. 

If you’re looking at rain gauges as a means of tracking your rainfall, it’s important to know how to use one, which is what this blog post is all about.

About Rain Gauges

A rain gauge is a device used by meteorologists to measure the amount of rainfall over a designated area. 

The typical rain gauge consists of a cylindrical container that collects the rainwater as it falls. 

The water level in the container is then measured and used to calculate the amount of rainfall. 

There are several different types of rain gauges, including tipping buckets and weighing gauges.

You can read our blog post about the types of rain gauges if you want to know more.

Importance of Rain Gauge

The rain gauge is an important instrument used to measure rainfall. It is used to help forecast weather, plan irrigation, and monitor drought conditions. 

The accuracy of the rain gauge is vital to apply the correct amount of water to crops, landscapes, and other areas. 

There are a variety of rain gauges available on the market, each with its advantages and disadvantages. 

Standard rain gauges include tipping bucket, weighing bucket, orifice plate, and standard cup. 

No matter which type of rain gauge is used, it is important to keep it clean and debris-free to ensure accurate measurements.

Useful Tips When Using a Rain Gauge

Rain gauges have been around for a long time now so that you will find many on the market. They are easy to use and straightforward to install. 

Here are some valuable tips for you to use your rain gauge correctly:

When placing a rain gauge

The first thing to note, if you don’t position your rain gauge in the correct spot, your measurements will be useless. 

So keep it out in the open and off the ground, to put it simply.

In general, there is a rule of thumb to follow in this scenario. Keep the rain gauge at least twice as far away from the nearest impediment as possible.

For example, you should place a gauge 20 feet away from a 10-foot tall tree.

To avoid splashback, mount the gauge on the side of a pole at least 2-5 feet off the ground, with the cylinder’s top several inches above the pole’s top.

Make sure the rain gauge’s top is level, and keep the gauge away from any artificial precipitation sources, such as sprinklers, that could alter the results.

When reading data in the rain gauge

It’s as easy as reading the measurement from the display on a digital rain gauge, but it’s a little more complicated with analog rain gauges.

Here’s how you read data from your rain gauge.

You’ll see markings on the side of your gauge that indicate how much rain is inside.

Rain will fill the tube as it falls. What you’ll see is that the rainwater’s surface appears curved; this is known as a meniscus, and it’s caused by the liquid coming into touch with the tube’s edges.

You’ll get your measurement by reading the measurement closest to the lowest point at the base of that curved surface.

When reading the water content of snow, you’ll usually need to remove the inner cylinder and let the snow settle in the bigger container.

You’ll need to melt the snow first to get an accurate reading.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Rain Gauge

You may want to consider a few factors before buying a rain gauge. 

The type of rain gauge you buy may depend on your needs. Some rain gauges are designed to be used in your yard or garden, while others are made for measuring rainfall over a large area.

The size of the rain gauge is also essential. 

If you’re only interested in tracking rainfall in your backyard, then a smaller gauge should suffice. 

However, if you need to measure rainfall over a large area, you’ll need a larger gauge.

Another thing to consider is the accuracy of the rain gauge. 

Not all gauges are created equal. Some are more accurate than others. 

Be sure to read the reviews before making your purchase to determine how accurate the particular rain gauge is.

Final Note

Using a rain gauge can be helpful in several ways. By understanding how much rainfall your area typically receives, you can better prepare for weather-related emergencies and know when to take extra precautions. 

Additionally, using a rain gauge can help you become more informed about your local environment and climate, which can be helpful when making decisions about things like gardening or watering your lawn.


Image from gardeningknowhow.com

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