Wet weather rain gauges - What is a rain gauge?

More weather instruments.

Do we really need weather rain gauges? When we have heavy storms, or prolonged rainy periods, they let us know how much we got. How beneficial will it be to our farmers? Use a water depth finder.

What do they do? Precipitation such as rain, hail, snow or other water deposits gets described in terms of vertical depth of water which contacts the ground. We say it in inches or millimetres, where 25 mm makes one inch.

Weather Rain Gauges

One of our rain forest animals.

The technology

The topmost part of one of the official government rain gauge instruments catches the incoming rain drops and allows the water to drain. It goes to a vertical container where the measurement is taken. A technician makes a visual reading of the water depth.

Electronic rain gauges and digital rain gauges offer a display of the rainfall information and wireless rain gauges allow for data transmission by radio wave to a separate base station.

Snowflakes and hail stones don't drain like raindrops. In rainy weather rain gauges collect water effectively, but hail comes down hard and bounces out of the gauge so accurate readings become more challenging.

Better to examine the hail on the ground immediately after the storm. You can use a ruler for this purpose.

Splash drop

The same method can be used for snow, however wind blows snow around easily and makes accurate readings more difficult. Nonetheless, functional snow-gauges are available by many of the same suppliers as rain-gauges.

No Snow, So Fire those Ploughers
From a completely anonymous respondent
I hate living where i live all it is is rain we never have snow not even a tiny bit the most ive had is 6inches rain, wind or shine never snow.

For home-owners and gardeners, manufacturers make weather instruments in artistic combinations. Such as decorative weather vane rain gauges, a wind and rain gauge combo.

Science Weather Information


What to do with data from weather rain gauges?

Suppose you wanted the water equivalent of a recent snowfall. Simply divide by 10 for a quick estimate of the depth of water that would be left in one of the weather rain gauges after melting.

For example, if you happen to be fortunate enough to get five inches of snow, when melted it should leave approximately half an inch of water.

Meteorological technicians measure snow depth on ground by sticking a ruler into it. They do this in several places to get an average.

Weather forecasters and observers also describe precipitation by type, such as rain, snow, etc. They specify intensity, using terms like light, moderate and heavy, and precipitation character by stating whether it is showery, intermittent or continuous.

We then hear things on the radio such as light rain showers. Finally, we hear rain accumulation information, obtained from examining the gauge. Most will give you a depth in inches or millimeters as already described.

Rain and snow gauges can be quite a technical thing, but these are the basic principles.

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