Tampa Bay Rain Gauge Upgrade

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Rain gauges are an essential part of measuring how much rain an area has received. Over time, this information helps predict flood risk or drought conditions in the area.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is currently upgrading about 200 gauges in the Tampa Bay area. Data from each rain gauge was previously collected manually by a technician visiting each site individually and uploading this data.

The upgrade allows each gauge to now report near real-time rainfall data. Updates can be received from each site as frequently as every 15 minutes.

This is exciting news for many reasons.

“They’ll alert us if the site is down so we can catch it instantly,” said Everett Eldridge of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. “If there is a problem, the technicians will come out and fix the problem first thing in the morning.”

The manual data collection done before the upgrade proved problematic from time to time when a gauge malfunctioned in the middle of the month, resulting in a complete loss of data.

Resources like lakes, aquifer and our drinking water are all replenished by rainfall, so it is very important to track the amount of falls. Everett says knowing what rains have fallen in which areas can help us plan for future use of the water we have.

Engineers can also use the information during a heavy rain event to better redirect water flows by opening and closing structures to prevent flooding downstream.

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