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How Does Precipitation in Evanston and United States Vary?
by Tashana, Erica, Matthew, Kasha, Eliza, Ben, Joe, Alex, Danny, Cara, Stacie, Laurel, Eurgne, Russell, Ryan , Amy, Micky, Megan, Brittany, and Nat--Mrs. Blair'sClass
* Hypothesis * Abstract * Materials * Procedure * Results * Conclusion * Bibliography & Links * 
We predict that there will be more snow in Evanston than in California, Kentucky, southern Illinois, and Alabama.  We think Pennsylvania will have the most snow and California the least.  We predict that there will be the most rain in California and that Alabama will also have a lot of rain.  We think Alabama will have the least amount of snow.  We predict that Kentucky will have a lot of rain but little snow.  We think there will be different amounts of rain in different places in Evanston and Skokie.
We predicted that there would be different amounts of precipitation around the United States during a given month.  Further, we felt that there would even be different amounts of precipitation in the different areas of Evanston and Skokie that we live in.   

We collected data of precipitation in different parts of the country via e mail.  Each week, each classroom sent us the amount and the type of precipitation that fell during the previous week.  Additionally, we collected rain data at our own homes each week with precipitation gauges we had made.  We used the medians of our individual weekly data for our data included in this experiment report. 

There were different amounts of precipitation across the country as well as in our own area.  Because of El Nino, we had no snow during the entire month of February while California had a great deal.  If we performed this experiment again, we would try to be more accurate in our collection of our own data.  We would also try to get more participants.

  •  rain gauge, 
  • 2 liter pop bottles, 
  • e mail
  1. Recruit students from other schools in the country to measure the amount of precipitation at their school each week.
  2. Construct rain gauges for each student in Room 204 to take home and install in a safe, open place.
    Measure the amount of rainfall and/or snow each week and record the data.Check e mail for data received from each of the participating schools.
  4.  A standard rain gauge is an instrument that measures the amount of rain that falls in a certain place over a period of time.  The National Weather Service uses a rain gauge that is shaped like a cylinder and has a removable cover.  Inside the cylinder, is a long, narrow tube where the rain falls and is subsequently measured.  The top of the tube is connected with a funnel.  The rain falls into the funnel and then into the tube.  The mouth of the funnel has an area ten times as large as the tube.  Therefore, if an inch of rain falls into the funnel, it would fill ten inches of the tube.  The rainfall is measured with a ruler.  After it is measured, its tube is emptied out and the results are recorded. 

     The rain gauge that we used at school is shaped like a rectangular prism on three sides and the fourth side is on an angle.  We used the metric system for measurements. 

     The rain gauges we made for our homes and that classes around the country that collected data for us used were made out of 2 liter plastic soda pop bottles.  We dug them into the ground near our homes and emptied them each week after we measured the rainfall.  There was no measurable snow during the entire month of February in the area of our school.  (Alex) 

     El Nino is Spanish for “Christ Child”.  Fishermen in Peru and Ecuador began using this term to refer to the coastal warming that began around the Christmas season and lasted for several months.  It has developed into a term meaning an “abnormal warming event.”  The winter of 1982-83 was the strongest El Nino this century and not only affected the South American coast, but the entire world also.  This year, El Nino has shown its effect on Evanston.  (Russell, Joe) 

    Sacramento, California--a warm area which is the capital of California.  The Sacramento River runs through the town into the Pacific Ocean.  They had so much rain in February that they had to close the schools.  (Eugene, Eliza, and Megan) 

    Spanish Fort, Alabama--located about ten minutes from Mobile and three hours from New Orleans.  Generally, they have many hurricanes and tornadoes in March and April.  They also have many tornadoes in the late summer.  They are the wettest city in the United States.  (Danny, Amy) 

    Ulster, Pennsylvania----located in northeast Pennsylvania, twelve miles from the New York border.  It is a rural area with many farms.  Their rain gauge got buried when they had 45 cm of snow.  (Russell, Alex) 

    Cynthiana, Kentucky--a rural town located in the bluegrass area of Kentucky.  They have beef cattle, sheep, chicken, and tobacco farming.  There is also coal in the area.  During February, they had 120 cm of rain.  They generally get snow here, but not as much as they got all at once (53.5 cm).  (Kasha, Ryan) 

    Peoria, Illinois--a city in central Illinois.  It is near the Senachwine Lake.  Peoria is an important farming area in the center of Illinois.  The area is called the Till Plains.  It was odd that it snowed very little during February, and one of the weeks had no precipitation at all.  (Cara, Joe) 

    Evanston, Illinois--large city next to Chicago.  It is a completely urban area.  It was odd that there was only rain in February, and very little at that.  Generally, we expect snow at this time of year. 

    Click to view map.

Median Amounts of Rain Data Collected at Our Homes in Evanston/Skokie, IL 

  Timber Ridge Magnet School, Skokie, IL--all rain 

  Spanish Fort School, Spanish Fort, Alabama (Erica, Danny, Amy) 
  Hollis Grade School, Peoria, Illinois (Cara, Joe, Stacie) 
 Sheshequin-Ulster Elementary School, Ulster, Pennsylvania (Micky, Alex) 
  Taylor Street School,Sacramento, California (Mean, Eugene) 
 Southside Elementary School, Cynthiana, KY (Kasha, Ryan) 

 Total Precipitation at all Sites Measured in February, 1998 (Laurel, Nat Matthew, Ben) 

We discovered that our hypothesis about snow and rain were wrong as to where the most snow and/or rain would fall.  However, our hypothesis about there being different amounts in our neighborhoods and across the country were accurate. 

Evanston had the least amount of precipitation of all the cities and Cynthiana, Kentucky had the most.  California did not have the most amount of rain, and Spanish Fort, Alabama did not have the least. 

There were different amounts of precipitation in different parts of Skokie and Evanston.  There were very different amounts of precipitation in different parts of the country and even from week to week. 

The amounts of rain varied from a low of 1.9 cm in Spanish Fort, Alabama to a high of 69 cm in Cynthiana, Kentucky.  There was no snow in Sacramento, California, Spanish Fort, Alabama, nor in Evanston, Illinois.  However, Cynthiana, Kentucky recorded 53.5 cm of snow during the same month, and we had predicted that Evanston would have more snow than they would. 

El Nino made the weather during the month of February very strange.  In Evanston, we had no snow, which was very unusual for the month of February. However, there was a huge amount of snow in California, and floods occurred in both Kentucky and California. 
Bibliography & Links   
  • Blair, Randee, Fourth Grade Teacher, Timber Ridge Magnet School, Skokie, IL
  • DeMers, Elaine, Fourth Grade Teacher, Taylor Street School, Sacramento, CA 

    Heald, Blair, Teacher of Gifted Classes K-7, Spanish Fort School, Spanish Fort, AL 

    Hughes, Kathy, Kindergarten Teacher, Sheshequin-Ulster Elementary School,  
     Ulster, PA 

    McDaniel, DeAnna, Fourth Grade Teacher, Southside Elementary School,  
     Cynthiana, KY 

    Titus, Nancy, Second Grade Teacher, Hollis Grade School, Peoria, IL 

    Web Site:  

    Web Site:  

    Web Site: 2  

    World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 16, pp. 126-127, 1996. 

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