Frequently Asked Questions : Data Entry


How do I enter data via phone?  If you are calling ONLY to report data, call the number 970-491-6300.  If you don't want to listen to the long message and are experienced in reporting by phone, you can skip over it by pressing the # key on a touch tone phone. You may also call 970-491-8545 to report data. 

What is the phone number for the Denver/Boulder Area? The phone number for the Denver/Boulder area is (720) 913-5284. This covers all of Denver and Boulder and parts of Jefferson, Adams, and Arapahoe, and Douglas counties too.

What information should I report over the phone?  Every time you report, you must state:  your name, station number, station name, time you checked your rain gauge (hopefully sometime in the morning), and the amount of precipitation that has fallen in the past 24 hours.   That is the only information which is required, but any other information that is on the printable forms may be included over the phone as well.

How do I enter data via the internet? Once logged in, you can click on 'My Data' at the top of the page. This will bring up the data entry page. You can also edit your reports from the report lists in the left hand menu of your "My Data" area.  Click here if you forgot your login info.

I made a mistake entering data, what do I do to fix it? You can edit your reports from the report lists in your "My Data" area.  If you have entered a daily report and meant for it to be a multi-day accumulation report, edit your report to "NA" and then submit a multi-day report.  *Note: please e-mail to request the daily NA report to be deleted from the database.

How do I verify that my data was entered correctly? The best way to verify your data is to go to the Reports section of the web site. You data should appear in the Daily Precipitation Report, Station Summary Report or the Data Entry Report immediately.


How do I verify multiple days worth of data? You can verify multiple days worth of data by going to the Station Summary Report and entering your Station Number and the dates that you want to verify.

What do I do if I've been gone and found water in the gauge when I returned? You need to enter your data as a multi-day report. Click on the "Multiple Day Accumulation Form" button. Enter the precipitation amount and the dates, the first date is generally the day after you left and the second date is the day you returned and emptied the rain gauge. Make sure that you don't accidentally write over good data by entering a date that is too early. Please also let us know if you think you know on which day the precipitation fell.

My data is an estimate, how should that be entered? If you are estimating any amount, please enter "NA" in the precipitation field and note your estimate in the Comments section of the form.

What should I enter in the comments field? Leave this blank unless you have additional weather observations to make. This can include any other weather related information such as wind conditions or temperature. Please don't include messages for the webmaster, they probably won't be seen. Use the webmaster link at the bottom of the page if you need to contact the webmaster. Don't enter any information such as vacation plans, the comments can be viewed by anyone over the Internet.

I have data from last year, can I enter it? Yes, you may enter any past data that you have as long as you are sure of its accuracy.

What is a Trace? Any precipitation that is seen or felt that is not a measurable amount is entered as a trace (T). If you see a drop on the pavement or feel one on your skin, that is a trace.

Do Traces ever add up to measurable precipitation? No matter how many traces you sum together, the sum is still only a trace. When adding up precipitation for totals as in the Station Summary Report, we convert a Trace to 0.00.

Do frost, fog or dew count as precipitation?
Dew and frost are easy, in that in most cases the sky is clear and the moisture in the gauge can be traced back to condensation. Fog is a different beast, in that - what ends up in the gauge could be either condensation from the saturated air (not precipitation), or it could be actual interception and collection of a water droplet from the fog -- which is the same as precipitation. The best way to look at it: If it's foggy but the ground is dry -- it's not precipitation. But if you can feel the mist and the ground is wet, call it precipitation. It's clearly a very fine line, but either way, please add comments to your observation.

What do I do with snow buildup on the edge of my gauge? There is no perfectly correct answer here since snow behavior can be erratic, but what I do is take a flat object like a snow swatter and I push is straight down on the gauge from above in such a way that any snow that is inside the gauge cylinder is knocked into the gauge, but whatever is outside falls out. For more snow measurement details see How to Measure Snow.

Can the center tube hold more and 1 inch? Some observers have noticed that when they received more than 1 inch of precipitation, the center tube actually is 0.01 or 0.02 above the 1 inch mark. Please check for this phenomena before emptying out the center tube; if the amount is above the overflow notch, wobble the inner tube back and forth to get the level down below 1.00" and then use the standard method of measuring more than one inch by writing down your amount, and adding up the excess amounts.

How do I estimate intense rain with more than 1 inch? You do not need to empty the inner tube and overflow tube every few minutes during a very heavy rain. You can use a ruler to measure the height of water in the outer tube. One inch of rain in the overflow tube represents only about 0.90" of actual precipitation -- due to the displacement of water by the inner tube. It is OK to simply estimate the rainfall to the nearest 0.10" by measuring the water depth using a ruler and then multiplying by 0.9 to account for the displacement. Remember to add the first inch, from the inner tube.

What do I report if my entire gauge overflowed? If your gauge has completely overflowed, you no longer have an accurate measurement. Please enter 11.00 in the precipitation field.  Then enter any comments, estimates or anything else pertinent to the storm in the section titled "Observation Notes". We encourage you to take a photo of the gauge before measuring and emptying. Click here for more tips on preventing overflow and what to enter on-line.

My hail pad has soft rounded dents but I didn't see any hail, what to do? The soft rounded dents are just deformations in the aluminum foil caused by rain, they aren't hail damage. Please just ignore them; the hail pad is still fine for hail data collection so you don't need to send it to us or replace it.

When I melt my snow, the gauge amount and core amount don't match, which one should I report as my precipitation? The amount will rarely match but both are valid data. In general, the higher of the two is usually the best "estimate" of the amount of precipitation that fell. If you use your core measurement as your daily precipitation amount, be sure that you report your gauge catch amount in the comments. We are learning that our measurements are, in fact, just good estimates and not confident "Truth".

What if some of the snow melts before my morning observation? If 2.0 inches of snow fell on the previous day, but in the morning there was only 0.5 inches left on the ground due to melting or settling, the New Snow amount should be 2.0 and the Total Depth of Snow on the ground should be reported as 0.5.