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Rain, rain and more rain

August 24, 2018
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS - Garden Club of Cape Coral ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Chapter 1: Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmosphere water vapor and then becomes heavy enough to fall under gravity.

Rain is measured in units of length per unit time, typically in millimeters per hour, or in some countries where imperial units are more common, inches per hour.

The "depth" being measured is the depth of rainwater that would accumulate on a flat, horizontal and impermeable surface during a given amount of time, typically an hour, one millimeter of rainfall is the equivalent of one liter of water per square meter.

The end of Chapter 1.

The easy way to measure rainfall is, you guessed it, the standard rain gauge. There are plastic or metal varieties. The most inexpensive - a can that is cylindrical with straight sides, left out in the open. Accuracy will depend on what ruler is used.

An experienced gardener can tell at a glance when checking the depth of rain or a lawn sprinkler deposit in the can.

An empty, clean, tuna can set in the yard does just fine to measure of amount of water being distributed as the sprinklers swish about.

The gardener may be surprised how little or how much is being actually deposited in a specific area. A yard that looks nice and flat and green may have dips and hollows that you are not aware of, or an ornamental or bird bath or even an innocent palm tree might be good indicators. Palm trees get slammed by yard sprinklers a lot, eventually leaving a black swath on one side where water hits and the other side is mostly dry. Not a good thing for the tree but this does not usually kill the tree.

Why should we even care about what rain is or how to measure?

It all started when I looked up rain in the dictionary. A good read for curious people and although a bit too thorough for most of us, I found out that there are over 10 kinds of rain droplets raining down on us, and we cannot do a thing about it.

We humans usually come up with some kind of interesting plan to stop things we do not like; however we really do need those darn rain droplets to survive.

Meteorologists are keen on telling us when and where and guess at how long we will be "attacked," however they cannot stop rain.

Maybe a game to while away the time between the wind and rain pouring down in sheets and torrents.

I am not recommending games to play as you try to navigate roadways, however be watchful and see how many kinds of rain droplets you can find in the daily storms.

What kinds of clouds or winds bring these droplets, not the white puffy ones for sure.

When you see those blue-black clouds gathering to strike, what kind of drops will they bring. Will you be able to make it the two miles from the grocery store to the garage? From the school bus to the house? How about off the golf course?

I misjudged a 2-mile dash this weekend and lost the game of time. However, I had 20 minutes sitting in the car watching and naming the kinds of droplets raining down.

This game only had one crack of lightening and low rumbling thunder.

I know, do not sit in cars, or under trees in cars during a storm. I just misjudged the whole storm that day.

The kinds of droplets I watched, with windows cracked, were drizzle, spitting, cloud burst, more drizzle, sheets and torrential.

Notice I was not driving. Take our summer storms seriously, they are a part of Florida living, we must respect their life giving precipitation.

Stay off the roadways and stay safe, no matter how interesting.

Safe gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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