It’s PAST time for a newsletter
It has been four months since I sent out the last newsletter and it is way overdue so this will be a little bit longer than normal. I could see from Graph of Precip Reports that about 100 of you dropped out during the winter. I confess that I was reluctant to try to do the snow measurements all winter myself but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. After all, it’s not like we get all that many winter storms in the state. Next winter I’d like to encourage more of you to stick around for that part of the year.
But now nearly everyone is starting to get back on board for the “rainy season” ... some of you really saw the rainy season a couple of days ago with one reading at 11.33. As you know, May has been pretty dry over all the state up until Wednesday. At my site, I should have two inches by now for the month and thanks to 2.42 in the last two days, I have a total of 2.44.
I did want to send out a reminder to those who have not started back up yet. We are still going strong and have no plans to quit so if you did take your gauge down for the winter, please put it back up, log on and start entering your rainfall data. If you can’t remember your username and password, just click on the “sign in!” link and then click on the “Forgot User Info?” button so it will be sent to you.
It can also be seen from the top link above that about 75 out of about 400 of you that are regularly entering are just entering data when it rains rather than also entering 0.0 when it does not. Those zero entries are just as important as seeing 1.23 for instance. In other words, knowing where it doesn’t rain is just as important as knowing where it does, and no, we can’t just assume it is zero if you don’t enter (see help article on this). Even if you don’t enter the 0.00 every day as we would prefer, we would still like you to go to back and pick those up when you do enter rainfall. That is VERY easy by just clicking on the “Multiple Zero Readings” button on the “data entry” option page.
Several of you are new observers so this may be your first newsletter. You can see all past newsletters by going to “volunteer” and then clicking on “Newsletters”. Anything that refers to “what’s new” can just be ignored since you probably don’t know what’s old so it is all new to you. But there are many tips, explanations, and answers to common questions that observers have that may be useful so you might want to check those out (shortcut link). Also check out the “help” FAQs for other situations you might run in to.
One piece of disappointing news since last newsletter concerns the lack of expansion of NeRAIN into the rest of the state. We had applied for another Nebraska Environmental Trust grant for that but it was unfortunately turned down. We hope to try again next year for the expansion because getting all of Nebraska in the project will benefit a lot more people and provide a better understanding of our moisture resourcs.
I usually try to inform about new features added to the website but most of those have been related to snow so aren’t really appropriate any more. I am in the process of adding features that will bring in the National Weather Service rainfall and temperature station data. I think this will be very interesting to see what precip totals a detailed network like NeRAIN gets compared to how much is missed by the few NWS stations around the state. For instance, the most rainfall they recorded was at Grand Island (7.21) in the big storm this week. The next was at Hastings (4.36) and all the rest were below 3.00. Contast that our 11.33, 32 reports over 5 inches and all the others and you can really see how valuable this network is. Another planned new feature will show average precip by county and NRD. I’ll describe these more in future newsletters once they are complete.
I would like to add that as a result of the big storm we had this week, the word spread more on NeRAIN. I got a call from the Missouri Basin River Forecast Center yesterday and they have just started using our data also. They are responsible for predicting flood flows in streams for most of Nebraska and our detailed network is very valuable to them for this.
Just a side note, I will be on vacation and out of the state from May 18th to May 31st (cruise on the Alaskan inland waterways where rain is predicted everyday for at least the next 10 days). If you have any problems while I am gone, Marlene Faimon (email@example.com - (402) 364-2145) may be able to help. The e-mail link at the bottom of each page will be directed to her also.
Thanks again for volunteering for NeRAIN.
Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
301 Centennial Mall South
P.O. Box 94676
Lincoln, NE 68509-4676