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Rain Gauge Network

History
The first rain gauges were installed in 1991 as a joint effort between MSD and the United Geological Survey (USGS). The rain gauge information was to be used for MSD studies and USGS research. In 1997, MSD took over sole responsibility of the rain gauge network. These data logger rain gauges were
non-telemetered and required MSD personnel to download the information that was stored within the rain gauge. Though labor intensive, these rain gauges work extremely well and remain in operation today.

In 1997, eleven telemetry-equipped rain gauges were installed. The primary purpose of these rain gauges was to provide real-time data for emergency response support. The majority of these rain gauges were installed at MSD facilities located throughout Jefferson County. For the purposes of emergency response support, these rain gauges performed adequately. However, with the implementation of the Real Time Control (RTC) project, these telemetered rain gauges did not meet the requirements of the RTC. Their geographic distribution and the telemetry system used at the time were deemed insufficient to provide the needed information in a timely manner. In order to meet the goals of the RTC project and to provide even better emergency response support, the telemetered rain gauge system needed to be updated.

In Spring of 2003, fifteen new telemetry-equipped rain gauges were installed throughout Jefferson County. This updated rain gauge system serves two primary functions – to calibrate weather service NEXRAD radar with rain gauge data, and to provide rainfall predictions at least two hours in advance. This information will be utilized by both MSD’s RTC project and for emergency response preparation. The new rain gauge network also provides a better geographical coverage of Jefferson County.

Further Expansion of the Rain Gauge Network
MSD is in the process of establishing three satellite-enabled rain gauges in the Southern Indiana Counties of Harrison, Floyd and Clark. These proposed rain gauges will provide MSD with the ability to better calibrate our rainfall predictions based on storms approaching from the northwest. Since the RTC project requires a two-hour predictive capability, rain gauges located outside of Jefferson County will provide MSD with the needed data.

How Do Telemetered Rain Gauges Work?
Rainfall data is obtained from a tipping bucket type rain gauge. It gets that name because rainfall that enters the rain gauge is funneled down to a small “bucket” that will tip and empty when 0.01 inches of rain is collected. This tipping action is measured by the electronics in the rain gauge, which is then transmitted, to a central receiving station at MSD. The amount of rain (tips) is accumulated and every 5 minutes the data is stored in MSD’ database for an accurate history of the rainstorm.

The database is read by the “Rainfall Conditions” Internet application, which displays the results on your screen. Please use the “Query” and “Report” buttons to get more specific and/or historic data about a specific rain gauge or for rainfall data during a different time period. There is also data from MSD’s non-telemetered rain gauges in the database but the data is not as current.

The general location of the telemetered rain gauges is shown on the map below

Back to Rainfall Conditions

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Potempa.

Last Updated: February 01, 2012

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