San Luis Obispo County

Little Bit of Rain Gives Cal Poly Students Something to Measure

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif - Even with just a little rain, it is still giving students at Cal Poly something to measure. One of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather stations is on Cal Poly's campus.

"There is not any rain now because we already dumped it out, but this morning we had a reading of 1.17 inches," said Martha Moaks, a student. Part of Moaks job is to check the measurements on the rain gauges. "That was just yesterday's rain, from I think it started about 10:30 yesterday morning until midnight," she said.

Cal Poly has rain data that date back to 1870. According to those records the last time there was over an inch of rain in a 24-hour period in San Luis Obispo was Dec. 21, 2012.

The weather stations and rain gauges are both manual and automatic. Depending on the gauge, rainfall is measured every 15 minutes, every hour- or over a 24-hour period.

Rain buckets are set up around the station. They are automatic and use a tipping mechanism for counting. "When rain hits it, it will tip, and then the computer starts counting depending on how many tips," said Hilary Olsen, a student. "It then converts it to how many inches of rain."

The station also records temperature, wind- and solar radiation. The information is sent directly to NOAA.

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