Summer is finally here officially. But there's a reason why climatologists like Ken Scheeringa in the Indiana Climate Office say climatologists usually use dates that start ahead of and end before official dates for seasons when calculating data and comparing one year to another. That's because the period right before the seasonal switch often acts more like the next season.'
That was certainly true this year, with several days in the 90 degree F category or higher in early June. And it's certainly been true in the thunderstorm patterns setting up across the state. One might get pounded, while just down the road, maybe it rains only a little, if any. Next time, the situation may reverse itself and fill the rain gauge at the opposite location. '
Indiana Prairie Farmer is pilot-testing My Rain Scout service, thanks to Beck's Hybrids. Beck's is the exclusive dealer for the service. You don't have to be a Beck's customer to obtain it. It's offered at fees including a $10 set-up charge, $10 per month, and $15 for the daily reporting plus monthly summaries, per site. Learn more at www.myrainscout.com.'
The service is based on a principle of reading Doppler Radar and using patented calculation formulas to determine how much rain fell at any one spot. We've been testing the service for about six weeks. So far, we'd say it's relatively accurate. Sometimes there's a small variation between the report and the rain gauge. But location of rain gauges can affect readings. Even if they're in the open, they may be placed at a slightly different spot than the program is reading.'
What's interesting is the difference between the two sites being monitored. They are about six miles part. One is three miles west and three miles south of the other. While it might seem like the normal pattern would carry the storm from the second site out of the southwest to the northeast over the first site, that's not always the case.'
On a couple of occasions, more rain has fallen at the most southwestern site. On one of those occasions, it meant the difference between not being able to work ground and plant, while you could still have operated at the first site. That's one of the values touted for the service- knowing what it may have done at a remote farm during busy seasons, so you know whether you may want to adjust your plans, without physically making the trip over to the site.'
Two other times, the northeast site has received more rain. Often, there is a difference of two to four tenths either way. It's the typical thunderstorm pattern weathermen talk about. The old story 'one barrel of the shotgun got wet and one stayed dry' might be an exaggeration, but it, like most old tales, grew form a kernel of truth. '
We will continue you to inform you about how accurate the service is, and how much difference there is between sites, during the season.