Real Time Data for Kids
There are instruments that collect environmental data throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. For many, you can look on the internet and see what conditions are like right now - in real-time.
This page links to websites with information on rainfall (precipitation).
Everyone is interested in the weather. That's why they have a channel on television dedicated to reporting the weather. And it is why the federal government has the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service collects lots of information that Americans need to make decisions in their daily lives. A quick look through the National Weather Service website shows just how much the NWS does.
One of the jobs of the NWS is to predict floods. And one of the tools they use to help them do this is the Integrated Flood Observing and Warning System (IFLOWS). IFLOWS includes numerous mountaintop rain gage sites that upload data to the internet via satellite every fifteen minutes. Try finding the IFLOWS gage closest to your school using the Washington DC area regional map and then collect precipitation data for the past 24 hours.
Another site you can try is Current River Forecasts, which has a tab for "observed precipitation" and "forecast precipitation." Observed precipitation tells you how much rain Doppler radar said fell in different parts of the Bay watershed. Forecast precipitation tells you how much the NWS thinks will fall in the next 48 hours. Just like the Weather Channel.
It is not just the government and television stations that collect weather information. Because everyone is interested in the weather, so do real people all over the country. People have installed automated weather stations outside their homes, connected them via computer to the internet, and upload their data in real-time to the Weather Underground. Try clicking on the Weather Underground link, and entering the zip code for your school in the "search" box to see what a neighbor's weather station tells you about the weather near your school.