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Does the USGS provide precipitation data?

NOAA is the federal agency tasked with collecting climate-grade precipitation data for the nation. Their rain gauges are usually located at manned sites where a local observer checks readings daily and performs regular maintenance.

The USGS collects precipitation data at about 3,400 locations around the country, mostly where we already have streamgages (so at roughly a quarter of our streamgages). USGS streamgages are only visited about once every six weeks, so our precipitation equipment is infrequently calibrated and tested.

Some USGS rain gages are considered “operational” and assist with evaluation of the streamflow records at the location, and in those cases, the USGS precipitation data is only available online for 120 days. Data are published where we have been asked and funded to do so by another cooperating agency. All USGS precipitation data are used by the National Weather Service to aid in calibration of their precipitation radar estimates and flood warnings.

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