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Most rain gauges that you will make at home will only measure up to one inch of rain fall. The problem with this is that if you live in a place where you will get more than one inch of rain your measurement if taken incorrectly will be very skewed. If your rain gauge has been constructed correctly you should have a fail safe in place.
When you construct a rain gauge you should have a measuring tube inside of an over flow tube. The meausuring tube will hold about one inch of rain fall, but when more rain falls the inside tube will overflow into the outer tube. To measure the excess rain fall you will follow a few simple steps.
Start by reading the inner tube of the rain gauge and then carefully empty the tube. Make sure that you don't pour out the water that has overflowed into the outer tube.
Once all the water for the measuring tube has been emptied carefully pour the excess rain water into the measuring tube. To get the most accurate reading try your best to not spill any water out, you can pour the water over a bucket to make sure that if you do spill any out you will catch it and be able to measure accurately.
If there is a lot of overflow you might want to measure a little bit of overflow at a time to get an accurate read. As you measure, write down the measurements and when you finish add up the values to get the reading.
The readings are done in inches so you have a reading that is 1.00 and has an overflow that measures up to .50 then the total read out will 1.50 inches.