Weather activities with meteorologist Cheryl Scott: how to make your own rain gauge, measure rain at home


CHICAGO (WLS) – Meteorologist Cheryl Scott is showing you how you can make a rain gauge at home and use it to measure rain in your own backyard!

Measuring rainfall daily is an important part of meteorology and forecasting. The data is invaluable to scientists who study weather patterns and climate.

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Rain gauges have been in use for hundreds of years, and although technology has advanced and some are now electronic, the design and principle of all gauges are the same. The rain gauges channel the water into a container that measures how much it has fallen.

Rain gauges are useful for many reasons, but most importantly, recording rainfall can help forecast and monitor drought and the potential for dangerous flooding. Measuring rainfall is also important to study the earth’s climate.

Materials needed:
1. Empty bottle (2 L)
2. Scissors

3. Modeling clay (Or pebbles)
4. Masking tape / Rubber bands
5. Rule

1. Use your scissors to cut off the top of your bottle (adult supervision)

2. Add modeling clay to the bottom of your bottle. Be sure to add enough to complete the edges. This will allow you to make a flat surface. It must have a flat surface at the bottom of the bottle to accurately measure rain. (You can also add pebbles to the bottom of your bottle and fill the spaces with water.)
3. Turn the top of the bottle upside down and insert it into the bottle. This will channel the rain into your meter. Secure with paper clips.
4. Glue a ruler to the side of your bottle making sure to start measuring at its flat bottom (the top edge of your modeling clay or the top of your waterline). You can leave your ruler on or you can use it every time you measure the rain on your meter.
5. Wait for it to rain!

You now have a tool that you can use in your home to help forecast the weather! Be sure to place your meter in an open area away from trees and buildings. You want to record your rain daily at the same time each day. After each measurement, be sure to empty your meter so you can prepare for the next day.

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