Livestock Wx is proud to release a new product called the County Precipitation Tool.
The Tool gives livestock producers the ability to see how often precipitation has been below, average, or above average for any given county in the contiguous U.S. for a month or a range of months. In short, the tool allows a person the ability to see the odds of getting more or less precipitation than average for their county. In most cases, average precipitation does not quite capture how an area experiences precipitation.
The reason for this is that unlike temperature, precipitation does not have a “bell curve” distribution where the average temperature reflects pretty well the most commonly occurring temperature for a season, month, or day. For most days of the year precipitation is zero but if you were to average the amount of daily precipitation for say Fort Worth, TX, you would get an average daily precipitation of 0.1” (36.7” divided by 365 days). Anyone from Fort Worth feel like a tenth of inch of precipitation per day is a fair representation of how you experience rainfall (or a Texan’s worst nightmare ice)?
We are used to thinking in averages but for precipitation it is probably more helpful to think about it in terms of frequency of the most commonly occurring amounts for a season, month, or whatever timeframe you might be interested in looking at. That is what the Tool we are introducing today will allow you to do. The tool uses data from NOAA going back to 1895. We have also created a guide on how to use the product, which can be downloaded below.
The Tool was developed by Dr. Becky Bolinger from Colorado State University and came out of a discussion with the East Co Group, who is a provider of the Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Insurance. Dr. Bolinger wrote an article on the topic in November of last year. We will be reposting that article in the coming days for those that would like to see a slightly deeper dive on the topic.
Please take a test-drive of the Precipitation Tool and let us know if you have any questions or ways it could be improved.