All Things Gardening forum: How accurate are rain gauges?

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Jun 29, 2015 2:27 PM CST
I would like to buy a rain gage and wondering what to look for and does it matter where I place it, as long as it's not under trees or roof-lines it should be accurate right?
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jun 29, 2015 3:24 PM CST
I have our rain gauge attached to the fence line. There are no obstructions there and I get an accurate reading of rain that heads straight downward. But if the wind is blowing, of course it does not catch a lot of those drops. IDK if there is one that does??
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jun 29, 2015 4:19 PM CST
I have a nice wrought iron holder that accepts the inexpensive glass tubes about the size of a test tube Found in feed or hardware stores. They tend to crack in freezing weather, not sure why, there is plenty of expansion room. I don't know physics.
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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jun 29, 2015 8:41 PM CST
Come to think of it, I had one like @Bonehead. The test tube-like vial would sway in the wind, catching the rain I guess? It was pretty. It disappeared along with my sundial one night.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 29, 2015 9:09 PM CST
grew legs. that is a bummer. So far I have not had that happen, but who knows, someday it could
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Jun 30, 2015 8:01 AM CST
My plants seem happy if they get about one inch of water every week.
So I just place empty bowls, jars or pails around the yard.
I can estimate after a rain whether there was an inch of rain.
Right now we are in a heat wave ( for us) and so I need to water them by hose.
The critters who visit my yard appreciate the containers for water.
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
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Pistil
Jun 30, 2015 12:45 PM CST
I hooked one onto my porch railing where I can see it from the kitchen window. Unobstructed overhead, no gutters or roof overflow. It seems quite accurate- for comparison I look at the Weather Underground website- someone only 1/4 mile from me has a weather station including a rain gauge so the info is constantly uploaded onto the website. If I did not have it, at this point I might not buy one as I can get the info off of Weather Underground.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jun 30, 2015 10:15 PM CST
I use the water from the rain gauge to water the plant that sits beneath it. Tomorrow it gets 4" from the container. Thumbs up
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jul 1, 2015 12:40 PM CST
This is just a theory, but wouldn't a BIG rain gauge be more accurate than a small one? A big mouth would "average" the rainfall over a larger area and be more representative.

You could also make one more precise (or easier to read to 0.1 inch) by using a very large funnel narrowing down into a narrow tube. Say the funnel mouth was 4"x5" (20 square inches), and the tube had an inside diameter of 0.64" (one square inch tube ID).

One inch of rain would fill the tube to 20" deep, letting you read the actual rainfall to 0.1" or even 0.05". (Or you might run the rain into a jug and weigh the jug to get even more precision.)

Please, no jokes about my "big mouth" expertise!

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