What You Should Know About Rain Gauges

What You Should Know About Rain Gauges

As the weather grows wilder, more people have become interested in keeping small weather stations and rain gauges at home. These stations are both educational for kids and helpful for local weather stations; residents can easily send hyperlocal rainfall amounts to weather forecasters via email and even social media. This provides people with a better idea of how a storm affects different areas of town.

If you want to join in the fun but don’t want to buy an entire weather station yet, a rain gauge is an easy way to get involved. These simple containers capture rainwater, and the numbers on the side of the gauge make reading amounts a very quick job.

As passive as rain gauges are, however, you should know a few things up front to ensure that your gauge measures correctly. You're going to enjoy having a gauge, but you'll have the most fun if it works properly.

They Should Have Mesh

Rain gauges basically sit out in the open. Rain falls into the container; when the storm is over, you can go out and read how much rain has fallen. Some gauges are set up so that rain falls into one section and then tips over into the measuring container, similar to the larger rain gauges used professionally.

The open design of rain gauges also means that anything can fall into the gauge — bugs, dirt, leaves, and more. Your gauge should have mesh across the opening, for best results, which will block these objects from getting in and messing with the reading (place mesh across the top if you buy a gauge that doesn't come with any). If you allow bugs to fall in, for example, you'll have a higher reading on the gauge than is accurate because the water level will be a bit elevated due to displacement from the bug's body.

You should place the gauge away from trees if possible. While wind could always bring a leaf or two around to land square on the mesh (thus blocking rain from entering the gauge), you'll have an easier time avoiding that problem if you keep the gauge away from trees and tall shrubs.

They Can Have a Decorative Aspect

Many weather stations and gauges look like something out of science fiction, but you can also get gauges that have a decorative aspect. These could be different colors, or even small sculptures. Find a gauge that has a decorative link to something you like, such as fishing or even your favorite sports team.

Metal Rain Gauges Should Be Weatherproofed

Weatherproofing a rain gauge sounds odd, right? It's supposed to be out in bad weather, so of course it should be able to withstand that weather. Yet many people often pick up cheap gauges that haven't been properly made.

Metal rain gauges are sturdy and beautiful, and to keep that integrity and cosmetic benefit, make sure the metal is one that doesn't rust, such as stainless steel. Stainless steel will shine and stay intact for years. You could also look for powder-coated metal, too.

Regular Maintenance Is Necessary and Easy

You don't have to do much to use the rain gauge. You should do regular maintenance, but this is a simple job. Check the gauge regularly to ensure it isn't clogged; check the mesh to see if there are any shredded or broken areas. Wash it down and dry it out to keep it looking nice.

Special attention is necessary after a bad storm, including hail storms, of course. Yet these gauges are built to be tough, so chances are any damage will be minor and will not affect how the gauge works.

Would you like a decorative metal rain gauge? Contact Prairie Road Iron Works to check out a selection of simple gauges made with several different designs. Enjoy watching how the gauge works and seeing how your yard fares compared to the rest of town.

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  • Shelly Ohlde

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