Manilla’s automated rain gauge down again

Photo of rain gauges

The rain gauge we had

[In the post “No rain, and no rain gauge” of 18 March 2016, I reported that the Manilla Post Office rain gauge, after 132 years, was no longer being read. Now the automated gauge that replaced it is not being read either.]

Manilla’s official rainfall record since 2015

For the last eighteen months, Manilla’s official rainfall record has depended on an automatic rain gauge. The Bureau of Meteorology moved this gauge from the Post Office to a nearby yard of the Manilla Historical Society Museum. The gauge, which had provided flood warnings only, became also the general-purpose rain gauge for Manilla.

From the date when manual readings ceased, 26 March 2015, there was no Manilla rain gauge for 424 days. From 23 May 2016, the re-purposed, and re-located automatic rain gauge then operated as Station 055031, Manilla Post Office, for 137 days to 7 October 2016.
Due to a fault, there were no readings for 161 days to 17 March 2017. After repair, the gauge then operated as Station 055312, Manilla (Museum), for 191 days to 24 September 2017, when it failed again. At the present date (5 November 2017) it has been out of service for 42 days.

Summary

Since Manilla rainfall readings became automated eighteen months ago, 38% of the readings have been missed, missing months at a time. This is appalling. When the Manilla rain gauge was read by the Postmaster, from 1883 to 2015, far less than 1% of readings were missed, never for more than two days at a time.

Without records from a rain gauge that is recognised officially, Manilla residents will have no evidence to prove the severity of the next drought. If people think this is important, it seems they would be far better-served by a local volunteer than by a Bureau of Meteorology that cannot afford to keep the automatic rain gauge running.

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No rain, and no rain gauge

A very long spell with no rain

My town, Manilla NSW, may be having one of the longest periods without rain in 133 years. We will never know.

The records of the Manilla Post Office rain gauge, No. 055031, show that the longest periods without rain were as follows:
1. August 1946: 62 days;
2. April 1912: 55 days;
3. Apr-May 2002: 47 days;
4. August 1914: 46 days;
5. May 1927: 45 days;
6. Mar-Apr 1980: 44 days;
7. April 1925: 43 days;
8. August 1982: 42 days;
9=. March 1896: 41 days;
9=. August 1995: 41 days;
11. March 1934: 40 days;
12. April 1942: 38 days;
13. March 1981: 37 days;
14. March 1955: 36 days.
To judge by my rain gauge, we have had a rainless period that is already equal seventh longest since 1883. Today, rain bands are passing through, but perhaps no rain will fall in my gauge. There may be several rainless days yet.

My gauge not valid for Manilla

Photo of dry wedge-type rain gauge

My rain gauge

The photo shows my personal rain gauge. It is dusty because it has been dry for the last 43 days.
Whether it rains in my gauge today or not, my reading cannot count in the record for the town of Manilla. It is as if it is this dry spell is not happening.
My gauge is very simple and not precise. It is hard to read to parts of a millimetre. I bought a cheap one, because there is no point in having a precise rain gauge in my yard. The yard is too sheltered to meet the Bureau of Meteorology standard. My house is also a kilometre away from the Post Office.

Manilla’s failed rainfall record

Rainfall was first recorded at the Manilla Post Office in March 1883. The record of readings was essentially unbroken through 132 years until the 26th of March 2015. There are towns with longer rainfall records, but not very many.
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