Thirty-seven hundredths of an inch, the gauge showed one morning this week. The day before it had been forty-two (hundredths). I know this so exactly because I have recently become a CoCoRaHS observer. I measure precipitation for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network. These are the folks who tell the National Weather Service how much has come down from on high and they are scientifically inclined. Thus I have obtained and installed a rain gauge the size of a shotgun barrel that shows every tenth of an inch at an inch in height for precision of reading the hundredths. I haven’t observed any snow yet but I know I have to make a scientific measuring tool for that and get a flyswatter. Hail I don’t do yet. Need to watch that video first. Love the videos.
It’s a heady responsibility to shoulder every day at 7 am. CoCoRaHS correctly predicts that on most days there isn’t a whole lot of precip to observe, but they still want you to observe it and tell you very emphatically that it is very important to know when it does not rain, and they fill out the 0.00 for you so it’s easy to make your report. And if you don’t see anything in the gauge but saw a couple of rain drops you fill in “T” for “trace.”
You can imagine how exciting it is to have some actual reporting to do. The .42 and .37 were my first reports of measurable precipitation. Prior to that I had to make do with one “small bug in the gauge” and a number of “frost on the gauge” observations.
I think I may be a weather nerd. Not quite technically adept enough to be a real nerd since I’ve had a dysfunctional cup-anemometer on my roof for a couple of years. Down below it is connected to a bike speedometer to measure the wind speed. It worked fine but when I replaced the battery it lost its constant, a setting to convert the number of rotations of the thang on the roof into how many mph the wind is blowing. (Are you following? The three cups machina on the roof turns and all that does tell the bike speedometer how many times it turns in how much time. It needs a number to multiply it by to translate that into something I can make sense of. For instance if it blows 1 mph it may turn 60 times in a minute, and 120 times in two, so you have to divide the number of rotations by 60 to get the mph—that makes the constant 1/60). I had a hint that something was awry when it told me that a gale of epic proportions was blowing at 120 mph and all I could see outside was one leaf that gently came whirling down from a tree. And I haven’t been able to make it work since. So now I make do with precip and I was glad to have something to report.
In any case, between “frost on the gauge,” “small bug in the gauge,” and finally my rain observations, this time of year delivers in the way of weather. One morning dawns moody and gloomy and still and damp and the reds so dark they look like blood; the next the whole world is shiny and glistening and dripping and you want to just walk around and catch it all on our tongue and play Narcissus in a puddle; on day three the bog is a world of diamonds so bright you risk eye damage without shades and you can’t look enough to drink it all in.
Tomorrow I get to report that we had snow flurries at 7:30 am this morning. Can’t wait.
(It’s a bonus to be entertained so easily and bodes well for the future when I am older and decrepiter and adventure-challenged, which I am actually pretty scared of in many ways, but at least I am not afraid that I will be bored. Check out the photos.)