Measuring the Rain, Drop by Drop

As Houston's traditional rainy season approaches — the Harris County Flood Control District is looking for volunteers to collect rainfall data.

The Flood Control District has 133 rain gauges in Harris County, which really isn’t very many when you consider the size of the area.

District Spokesperson Heather Saucier says some of the gauges are as much as five miles apart and that’s why they need volunteers to set up and monitor rain gauges to fill in the gaps.

“When we can get accurate data on the amount of rain falling in our area, it helps us to better predict and better measure the water levels in our bayous. And that certainly helps us to be able to provide the Office of Emergency Management and other officials when we expect to have flooding from bayous coming out of their banks.”

Saucier says volunteers also help them track the progress of rainfall in the entire 15-county region.

“Radar is a very good predictor of what we might get, but if we’ve got reports coming in from Ft. Bend County saying that people have received four and five inches of rain in the last two or three hours, that gives us very good and hard evidence as to what we will probably be receiving here in Harris County.”

The volunteers are supposed to check the gauges daily and then record the data on the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network website, known as CoCoRaHS.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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