Best way to find recent rainfall history for a specific US location
September 2, 2019 11:56 PM   Subscribe

My spouse is very interested in mushrooms and slime molds, and often decides whether to drive an hour or three to a given location based on the amount of rainfall that location has received over the past few weeks. Is there a good and consolidated source for this information online?

If it matters, he’s looking for specific, recent rainfall data for Alaskan locations almost exclusively- he never needs anything more than a month back but often would like to know if, say, Seward or Girdwood Alaska received meaningful precipitation a week ago.
posted by charmedimsure to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here is a link to an NOAA table of total precipitation by county in Alaska for July 2019. You can easily change the desired month or drill down to city-level granularity.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:32 AM on September 3, 2019

I just realized that those NOAA tables probably aren't as fresh as you need them to be. The National Weather Service provides more recent data, but it's harder to use. Click on the area you want on the map, then select either "Monthly Weather Summary" for the previous month's records or "Preliminary Monthly Climate Data" if you need records for the current month. Then select a location from the menu and generate the report. I couldn't find any data source with weekly reports, only daily or monthly.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:42 AM on September 3, 2019

There are maps of recent precipitation at the Regional Forecasting Center. I am not sure where to find the actual data behind that estimate for Alaska.

If he is an R or Python User and is up for some analysis, it MAY be possible to find this information via the Geo Data Portal, which has gridded radar-estimated rainfall since 2002 available for CONUS, and that may or may not include Alaska.
posted by rockindata at 1:36 AM on September 3, 2019

Weather Underground might be what you need.
posted by corvine at 4:55 AM on September 3, 2019

Another possible/complementary source is the USGS Stream Gauge system, depending how close the gauged streams are to places you're interested in. They allow you to get flow data from a time period you choose, including up to the present moment, and they have precipitation data.

This page shows a map of the state with color dots to show which streams are higher/lower than normal: . You can ask it to build you a list of streams that are high, or that are in a certain region, etc.

You can also get info on an individual stream, for a time period you name, with or without precipitation data. For example: Anchor River gauge for the last few days.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:07 AM on September 3, 2019

Pro tip on this - search for wedding weather dates. There are a few sites out there that will give you the rainfall history for specific days, weeks, months. That's how I found Weather Underground's.
posted by Miko at 5:17 AM on September 4, 2019

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