CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - When you think of a rain gauge, you probably think of the typical garden-style of rain gauge. The type that’s made of plastic and has big bold numbers on it. These work great! They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are usually pretty cheap as well. You can usually pick one up at any hardware store for $10 or less.
Another type of rain gauge is one that’s called a tipping-bucket rain gauge. These are automatically measure and transmit rainfall amounts and can measure rainfall more precisely. The water flows down a funnel and fills a bucket. The rain then lands on what’s essentially a little teeter-totter, which then tips back and forth. Each tip represents 0.01” of rain. These rain gauges can have trouble keeping up during torrential rain since the bucket can empty only so fast.
The wind can also affect the measurement of rain, regardless of rain gauge type. It’s pretty hard to measure when it’s raining sideways!