Weatherz School: DIY rain gauge

Whenever it rains, the first question to come to mind is, “How much did we get?” To help you find the answer in your own yard, let’s make a rain gauge.

All we need for supplies is a two liter bottle, scissors, paper clips, a marker, and a ruler. I’m using the yard stick that we use to measure snow at the station.

First we’re going to carefully cut the top off the bottle. Adult supervision is needed for this step. Flip the top upside down and set it into the bottle opening. You can use paper clips to secure the top in place.

Use the ruler to mark 6 inches on the bottle. Be sure to start with zero an inch or two above the bottom. We want to put water in the base so that it weighs the rain gauge down. This water will evaporate over time, so be sure to check it regularly.

Now we have a rain gauge. This simple rain gauge is enough to give you an idea of how much rain fell. For an official observation, you would want to purchase a more precise rain gauge.

As meteorologists, we rely on rain observations from volunteers. If you want to report daily observations, join CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.