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2009 Rainfall Totals?

Posted by nelson 7b in Alabama (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 3, 10 at 20:19

Hi all!

While transferring info onto my 2010 calendar I decided to total this year's rainfall here at our home in Vincent. I knew the number would be huge, but I was more than surprised:

Jan. - 12.25"
Feb. - 10.875
Mar. - 13.125
Apr. - 10.375
May - 23.125
June - 2.745
July - 15.875
Aug. - 7.25
Sep. - 17.5
Oct. - 17.375
Nov. - 12.75
Dec. - 19.5

Total for 2009: 162.745 inches! That's almost 3 times the average annual rainfall for this area (52" - 56" according the the UA Climate Map).

Anyone else keep up with rainfall? Just curious....

Happy New Year to everyone!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

Wow! No wonder the poor farmers had such a rough year. We needed rain, but not that much. You're smart to keep up with the monthly totals. I need to set up a rain gauge. Do you have a store-bought one or did you rig up your own?


RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

Wow, is right!

That's a super wet year in a rainforest!

I feel cheated now with my measly 72.5"

Nelson, are you sure you didn't place your rain gauge out in the middle of your sprinkler system, or under a leaky faucet, perhaps? Did the collected rain ever appear yellow? How tall are the neighborhood dogs? : >)

RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

Dumb question, but are you sure your scale is in inches instead of centimeters?
Thats some major monsoon action in Vincent!
I always compare my rain gauge with the newspaper's report for the airport reading....I have not kept the monthly totals this year.
Sometimes of course I get an inch more, sometimes I get a little less, but overall I know the final total must be close to the airport +/- 25 % at most,
I would guess.

RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

We had 53.63 inches of rain here in Pinson. That's about average for this area, but I guess it seems like more because of the recent dry years (especially 2007).

RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

  • Posted by nelson 7b in Alabama (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 5, 10 at 22:21


I know it sounds absurd, but after totaling 2008's rainfall and finding it somewhat "questionable", I moved the rain gauge from one area of the deck to another - far away from any interference.

With 10 indoor/outdoor cats, I'm also careful to keep a close eye on during storms, and those green/yellow & red rain clouds streamed into Vincent, when during years past they would part somewhere close to Double Oak Mtn. and leave us high & dry.

The gauge I'm using is one of the "Vermont" kinds that I bought at Wild Bird Center in Inverness. In the meantime I've located the 2008 calendar and here are those totals:

Jan. - 9.75
Feb. - 10.875
Mar. - 7.125
Apr. - 14.125
May - 25.625
June - 2.125
July - 6.5
Aug. - 20.125
Sep. - 5.75
Oct. - 7.625
Nov. - 4
Dec. - 13.75

2008 Total: 127.375"

If I could locate calendars for '05-'07 I'd bet my life savings the 3-year-total wouldn't come anywhere close to half of the totals for '08 and '09. Mother Nature has a strange way of "evening" up the "odds".


RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

Hi Nelson, I find your numbers suspect and I'll tell you why. Although I can believe that is what you actually recorded, the location of your gauge is the reason why you may have recorded those crazy amounts.
I've been reporting rainfall to COCORAHS (Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow) network for over 2 years and there are specifics on where one can and cannot locate a gauge. Locating a gauge on a deck (if it's attached to your home) is a No No as the gauge can easily collect wind blown rain off of the roof. COCORAHS guidelines are that the gauge (and we have to use their gauge which is even more accurate than the NWS) should be placed no closer than 40 feet to any structure, including a fence or tree which could influence the amount of rainfall collected. (For example, mounting a gauge on a fence can influence the amount collected as wind blowing against the fence can push rainfall up and away.)

My measurement for 2009 was 70.02 at my station in Huntsville. My total for 08 was 50 something inches.

Just saying you might want to check your gauge location to see if anything is influencing your collection. Or better yet, join COCORAHS. We can always use more people reporting.

Here is the link and you can check readings from COCORAHS reporters in your area. Heck, you might even have one as a neighbor!

Here is a link that might be useful: COCORAHS

RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

Nelson, I was so shocked by your numbers that I tried to do a little sleuthing on 2009 rainfall amounts in Jefferson County. I found an article in the Birmingham News citing that, as of November 10 2009, there had been a total of 63.64 inches for the year. Another article (published in October of last year) mentioned that there had been around five feet of rain for the year.

So, what do you think is going on?

RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

  • Posted by nelson 7b in Alabama (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 8, 10 at 19:36

What I think is going on is that I'm a complete idiot! After reading Robert's post I realized that wind-blown precipitation probably contributed a great deal to those totals. The gauge is less than 10 ft. away from the roof.

I guess one needs a little educating even when it comes to something as simple as collecting rainwater! Thanks for the tips....I'll go wipe the egg off my face now :-)


RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

Nelson: You're not the only one having egg for breakfast. :-( I just didn't write my rain bucket collections down and therefore couldn't post them. Now I know why it always seems to rain more at my house than anywhere else! My problem now is that I don't think I have anywhere in my yard that isn't near a tree or the house and/or a fence. Guess I'll just have to figure that whatever I get is double what actually fell on the yard, but at least I'll know whether it rained a lot or just a few drops overnight.

A bit of CGE (continuing gardening education) helps keep us on our toes.


RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

No Nelson, at least this kind little thing isn't a mistake that is dangerous or costs a lot of money. When my neighbors see me doing something crazy to prune or limb-up my trees in a way that could kill me (in order to save money by not hiring a pro), they can really say "now THERE is an IDIOT!"

RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

We are located two miles west of Jacksonville in Calhoun County. Total rainfall for 2009, 75.2".
June was our driest month with only 1.9"

RE: 2009 Rainfall Totals?

Not an idiot, Nelson. You just didn't know. Actually, I was wrong with the location so if you want to relocate your gauge this may help.

COCORAHS says that in open areas strive to be twice as far
from obstacles as they are high.

In developed areas strive to be as far
from obstacles as they are high.

Ideally, place your gauge equidistant
from the nearest trees.

In open areas place the gauge top
approx. 2 feet off the ground

In developed areas place the gauge top
approx. 5 feet off the ground

Like anything, it's all about location. I'm fortunate that I have a large, open back yard. My house is about 30+/- feet to the top so my gauge is roughly 70 feet from the house in the wide open. The gauge itself is mounted on a leveled, concreted 4X4 with the top of the post cut away at a 45 degree angle on the side opposite the gauge and the gauge is mounted higher than the top of the post. This is to insure that rain doesn't hit the top of the post and splash into the gauge.

Hope this helps.

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