Tracking and Timing Stormwater
Keeping track of weather conditions and storms is really important for managing stormwater flows properly. How much it rains and how long it rains for affects how much stormwater there will be. Heavy rain causes a lot of stormwater runoff, while light rain has less impact. So, it’s crucial to take videos of stormwater during heavy rain events.
How to Know When to Record
To find the best days for recording stormwater, check the 10-day forecast. Pick days with at least 0.75 inches of predicted rainfall to collect video footage. On the chosen day, use an hourly forecast or a weather radar map to figure out the best time to record when the stormwater is at its peak.
Recording on the Day
When using a weather radar map, look for red, orange, and yellow cells, which mean heavy rain. If you see such a storm near you, it’s likely there will be stormwater runoff. Take videos during or just after the heavy rain, and a few hours afterward to get important information. But remember, if it’s a short rainstorm, the time to get good stormwater data is shorter. On the other hand, if it’s raining heavily all day, it’s easier to get good data.
Best Seasons for Recording
The best time to collect stormwater information is from March to December. But if winter is warm enough for rain, the information you collect can still be useful. Snowfall data in winter isn’t that useful unless it rains on top of the snow.
Staying Safe and Getting Good Videos
Always put safety first, especially during severe weather like high winds, lightning, or hail. Your safety is more important than getting stormwater information.
To protect your phone and take good videos, carry an umbrella and put your phone in a ziplock bag to keep it dry. Make a small hole in the bag for the camera lens, so you can record without water touching the screen.
When you’re at the stormwater site, focus on watching how water flows from the street into the green area. If it’s working well, the water should go into the designated inlet and then into the grassy or vegetated basin. If not, the water might bypass the inlet and keep going down the road. If you see pooled or ponded water in the grassy area, it means the site is working well. See the videos below for examples of sites that are and are not functioning properly.
Steps to Follow on Site and Afterwards
To complete a digital field report effectively, follow these steps:
- Choose the site from the drop-down menu.
- Fill in the date and time accurately.
- Record when it last rained – estimate if you remember, or use the NOAA/TF Greene website for more accurate data.
- Describe the rain intensity as torrential, heavy, moderate, or light based on what you saw or use the NOAA/TF Greene website.
- Use the comment section for any extra information.
- Capture 1-3 videos, each 15-30 seconds long, to show the whole area and close-up details.
- Upload and submit your videos.
By following these steps, you can fill out a digital field report with all the necessary information and get a good record of the conditions observed.