Thursday, March 10, 2016

Need An Extra Hand Emptying Your Rain Gauge?

CoCoRaHS observers in the south have been making many pours from the outer cylinder into the inner measuring tube to measure their rain this week. Six observers in Louisiana measured more than 10 inches inches of rain in their gauges Wednesday morning, necessitating at least 11 pours to get the measurement. Measuring several inches of rain takes a little work and some extra attention. When the outer cylinder is full, or even half full of water it gets to be heavy and just a bit awkward to handle. In order to carefully pour from the outer cylinder into the inner measuring tube it usually requires using two hands to hold the cylinder. So what do you do with the inner tube and funnel?

Here is a "third hand" that will make your job of measuring multiple inches of rain a lot easier. This simple stand to hold the inner tube and funnel and allows you to use both hands to carefully pour into the measuring tube.

This is a scaled down version of a stand I made to hold the measuring tube of the standard 8-inch rain gauge. 

The idea came after I witnessed our Cooperative Station weather observer pouring water from the 8-inch steel can into the funnel on top of the free-standing tube. This was a disaster waiting to happen. Should the top-heavy tube and funnel topple over, say goodbye to that precipitation measurement. The steel can itself is heavy enough without any water in it. So, a little time in my shop with some scrap wood and I came up with the tube support stand for the 8-inch gauge. 

8-inch rain gauge can (r) with measuring tube in the tube support stand (l)

After I became active in CoCoRaHS I realized that a scaled-down version of  the large stand would be helpful when pouring from the outer cylinder into the measuring tube. An an extra precaution to spilling any water, you could place the stand with tube and funnel in a dishpan or other container, "just in case".

You can make the tube support stand with as little as one square foot of 3/4 inch plywood. Lay out the parts to maximize wood use. You can also make it out of standard construction lumber. I have created plans for the stand with all the dimensions which can be downloaded here. If you run into any problems or have questions about its construction just drop me an email.


  1. I made one Steve's stands and it really does come in handy.

  2. I made one Steve's stands and it really does come in handy.