Types of Rain Gauges
Name: Kirsten C.
How many different styles of rain gauges are there?
How long have rain gauges been used to measure the amount of rainfall?
Rain gauges come in all different sizes, and in different price ranges.
Some are meant for home and garden use, and others are
used for official measurements for the National Weather Service. The
official rain gauge in the U.S. is an 8-inch diameter metal
tube, and is used by the National Weather Service observing sites, and
thousands of volunteer cooperative observers around the
There are many different kinds of rain gauges also. Some actually weigh
the rain, and record the amounts on a chart. There are
automatic rain gauges, called "tipping bucket" rain gauges, which remotely
record the amount of rain that falls. There are radar
rain gauges that can be interrogated or "read" by weather radar equipment.
Inexpensive plastic rain gauges work very well for a homeowner or gardener.
It is interesting to record the amount of rain for
several weeks or months, and compare the amount that falls where you are to
what the official measurement is.
Wendell Bechtold, Meteorologist
forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO
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Update: June 2012