Rain on your roof? Check your in-box to see how much. A University of Arizona program tracking precipitation across the state is offering people a new service. Every morning after a rain, participants will receive an e-mail informing them of the readings from around their neighborhoods.
RainMapper is free to anyone with Internet access.
This is an offshoot of Rain-Log, a statewide network of volunteers measuring rainfall at their homes and businesses.
Two professors in Tucson thought up RainLog as a better way to determine locations, times and intensities of rainfall in the state.
From the data, they hope to create detailed maps and apply the knowledge to the fields of flood warnings, water conservation, agriculture and weather forecasting.
Hydrologist Gary Woodard said RainMapper’s results will come from a formula that compares rainfall totals to the distance from various gauges. Otherwise, the collected data would be wasted.
“And we don’t like to ignore information,” said Woodard, an associate director at the National Science Foundation’s Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA) center.
Recently, RainLog received a $23,000 grant from the federal Bureau of Reclamation. From that, Woodard explained, RainMapper was born.
Woodard said the grant’s goal is to help people use less water when irrigating.
That will be achieved by increasing the number of RainLog participants and improving the network of gauges, upgrading from simple collection receptacles to electronic tipping buckets that automatically send data to the university.
How to sign up
Anyone interested in signing up for RainMapper or participating as a RainLogger can visit the program’s Web site at www.rainlog.org. Maricopa County currently has 182 volunteers, and Woodard said the program wants 300 by the start of the summer monsoon.