Weather activity: How to make your own rain gauge at home

Weather Workshop with Meteorologist Cheryl Scott
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Meteorologist Cheryl Scott is showing you how you can make a rain gauge at home and use it to measure rainfall 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 used for hundreds of years and although technology has advanced and some are now electronic, the design and principle for all gauges are the same. Rain gauges funnel water into a container that measures how much has fallen.

Rain gauges are useful for many reasons, but most importantly, recording rainfall can help forecast and monitor droughts and the potential of dangerous flooding. Measuring rainfall is also important for studying the earth's climate.

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

3. Modeling Clay (OR Pebbles)
4. Masking Tape / Rubber Bands
5. Ruler

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

2. Add Modeling Clay to the bottom of your bottle. Make sure you add enough to fill in the ridges. This will allow you to make a flat surface. You need to have a flat surface at the bottom of your bottle to accurately measure rainfall. (You can also add pebbles to the bottom of your bottle and fill in the gaps with water.)
3. Flip the top of the bottle upside down and insert it inside your bottle. This will funnel rain into your gauge. Secure with paper clips.
4. Tape a ruler onto the side of your bottle making sure you start measuring at your flat base (the top edge of your modeling clay or top of your water line). You can either leave your ruler on or you can use each time you measure your rainfall in your gauge.
5. Wait for it to rain!

Now you have a tool that you can use at your home to help forecast the weather! Make sure to place your gauge in an open area away from trees and buildings. You'll want to record your rainfall daily at the same time each day. After each measurement, make sure to empty your gauge so you can prep for the next day.
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