A “GOOD” Rain

Pat turned to me and with excitement in his voice and declared, “That was a “GOOD” rain!” Pat raises cattle. He watches his cattle closely to make sure they have what they need to stay happy and healthy.

So what is a “good” rain? For ranchers, like Pat, it means a rain that is timely. The rain needs to fall often enough to keep the grass growing. No rain. No grass. That’s what we had in 2011.

Young girl in puddle on farm

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Rain Forecast as Hourly Graph

A couple of common questions we all have are, “When is it going to rain?” and “How much rain will we get?”

There is a tool from the National Weather Service that can give insight into both of those questions. The product is the National Weather Service’s Hourly Weather Forecast Graph. The Hourly Weather Forecast Graph shows forecasts of the chance of rain, amounts over time, and when to expect rain.

2016-02-26.Ag Blog.No 01.Storm clouds

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Adding Assurance – Dual Rain Gauges

When rainfall data counts, it’s a shock to go to the Oklahoma Mesonet and find ‘NA,’ ‘Not Available.’ Just like you, all of us at the Mesonet hate missing data too. That is why we are so committed, from our field techs to our website wizards, to collect and confirm all the data we can from the Oklahoma Mesonet system. The Mesonet team works continually to make sure that quality assured data keeps flowing from Mesonet’s 120 sites, every five minutes, every day.

2015-12-22.No01.AgBlog.Mesonet Team

(Part of the Oklahoma Mesonet Team at the Ron Elliott Mesonet Site Dedication – 09/11/15)

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Reporting Rainfall

The offense moves first, seeking to confuse, elude, to cut through the defense. If the defense plans well and plays well, each player is in position to stop the one with the ball. Now the outcome hinges on the basics. All of the planning, practice comes down to executing tackling basics.

Collecting rainfall is basic to monitoring weather. Measuring it accurately is like making that open field tackle. Correct rainfall amounts are valuable data for weather records, for climate records. Done wrong, bad data leads to wrong decisions. Done sloppily, it misleads.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Historical Climate Trends Tool

Right in the middle of your conversation about how drought has cut hay production someone brings up climate. What pops into your mind? Do you have a picture of climate?

Drought is easy to picture. The empty ponds, low lakes, dried up crops are ready reminders of drought’s devastating impact. Weather is easy to picture. It’s what’s going on as soon as we step outside. Sun, wind, rain, heat, cold all give us an immediate picture in our mind. Pictures of climate? For most of us, it’s hard to picture climate. And if we can’t picture it, how can we get a grasp on the long-term cycles and patterns of climate? How can we know where in the cycle we are? How can we know what to expect?

One way to picture climate is with a graph over time. There is a tool that can be used to create graphs of climate for any of the 48 continental USA states or any of the 344 climate divisions. These graphs use data from NOAA’s National Climate Data Center back to 1895.

The tool is the Historical Climate Trends Tool made available through the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program at www.southernclimate.org.

2014 07 19.SCIPP.Data Products page

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