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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published July 27 2012

Weather Talk: A mile or two can make big difference in rain totals

On May 27, a thunderstorm dropped more than 2 inches of rain in much of Moorhead. Fargo and West Fargo, on the other hand, especially areas near and west of Interstate 29, picked up less than 1 inch.

By bad coincidence, the sensor at Hector International was not reporting during that time frame. Therefore, the National Weather Service used data from the cooperative observer in Moorhead, who recorded 2.33 inches.

Eventually, the data was recovered from the automatic gauge at the airport, and the official total was dropped to 0.81 inches for that event.

This past Wednesday, the airport sensor recorded 2.39 inches from some overnight thunderstorms. The cooperative observer who picked up so much more from the previous event, this time recorded just 0.74 inches.

In the end, the summer totals from those two sites now almost match; yet my house is still running nearly 2 inches shy of both. These are more examples of how a mile or two can make a huge difference in rain totals and how the official reading frequently does not represent other totals nearby.


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