Precipitation Monitoring

Precipitation determines surface runoff and is arguably the greatest factor contributing to surface water quality. Water quality in the MWMO’s stretch of the Mississippi River is affected by precipitation that occurs in the entire Mississippi River basin upstream of the MWMO, including tributary watersheds to the river.

In order to better understand rainfall intensity and patterns over the watershed and upstream of it, the MWMO collects precipitation data from a variety of sources, including rain gauges installed and operated by external entities such as the St Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) and the National Weather Service, as well as those operated by the MWMO. The map below shows locations of all precipitation gauges utilized by the MWMO. Precipitation data compiled from National Weather Service gauges are accessed here and include locations in St. Cloud, Becker, Elk River, New Hope, Chanhassen, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Precipitation data at Edison High School, Columbia Golf Course, Waite Park Elementary School, the MWMO Weather Station, and the stormwater monitoring sites 1NE, 10SA, and 11CHF are collected by MWMO staff year-round. Precipitation data at the 6th Street NE site are recorded and submitted by MWMO citizen volunteers.

Here’s a video demonstration of how one of our heated tipping-bucket rain gauges works. Heated rain gauges allow for both rain and snow data to be collected.