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Rain (Rainfall) Facts

RF Cafe - Weather Radar MapWhen you listen to the weather report and hear that there is a chance for light rain or that it is currently drizzling, there is actually a scientific method for defining the terminology. Now, if the person making the report is just a local broadcaster looking out the window to render an opinion, then the definitions listed below are not guaranteed to apply, but if the forecast is coming from a certified weatherman, then there is a pretty good chance that the number of drops per second per square foot really does fall within the ranges below.


Weather radar displays present rainfall intensity legends that report units of dBZ, which are decibels relative to "Z," with "Z" being the reflectivity factor.


 Number of Drops
(per ft2 per sec)
Diameter of Drops
(mm)
Intensity
(in. per hr.)
~dBZ
Cloudburst1132.854.060
Excessive Rain762.41.650
Heavy Rain462.050.640
Moderate Rain461.60.1530
Light Rain261.240.04 
Drizzle140.960.0120
Mist2,5100.10.00210
Fog6,264,0000.010.0005 


One interesting tidbit not included in the table above is that technical difference between rain and a shower. Rain refers to precipitation from stratiform clouds like stratus and altostratus, and tend to occur over a large area for a long time. Showers originate from cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds and cover a relatively small area for a short time.

So, when somebody remarks that, "we have had a ton of rain," just how much rain is that?
   Answer: 0.01 inches of rain over an acre of land equals 62,726 cubic inches, or 1.1 tons.

How fast does rain fall?
   Answer: Around 30 km per hour (18.6 mph), depending on the updraft.


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Copyright: 1996 - 2024
Webmaster:
    Kirt Blattenberger,
    BSEE - KB3UON

RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...

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