Meaning of "rainin" -- Is it a rate or a quantity?

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Hello Everybody,

I recently added a tipping bucket rain gauge to my station, and I am working on getting it accurate and stable.  I compare my observations with the school down the road.

I have noticed that some of the Davis stations in the area have spikes in the rainfall rates when it does rain, but my rainfall rate is much more smooth and drawn out.  I think I figured out the reason today.

My station is using OneWireWeather, a project by Dr. Simon Melhuish.  I believe this software literally reports the rainfall in the past hour when each observation is sent.  So, it adds up that when there is a quick spurt of rain, that amount is reflected in the graph on my PWS page for an hour.  When the hour passes, the rainfall rate drops down.  This also matches the description of the upload protocol:
rainin - [rain inches over the past hour)] -- the accumulated rainfall in the past 60 min
But when I look at the table data, I see that this data is described as "rainfall rate".  That is more consistent with the observations from the Davis instruments.  Sort of.

So my question is, what's correct? I gave it some thought this afternoon and realized it's not a straight-forward question.  In the school's weather station the sampling period it short, giving much higher rainfall rates.  My station follows the quoted description above, but reports a lower rate for a 1-hour period.

Thanks for helping me out here!
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Dana Borgman

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Posted 2 weeks ago

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George

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There are two methods and you have pretty much described each well. Depending on who you talk to there are going to be different answers. It would be curious to see if WU responds to this inquiry.

Here are two good reads on differing opinions
https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?top...
https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?top...

I don't think there is a right and wrong way. Two methods and it's up to you to decide if your equipment lets you choose. Or maybe you choose the equipment to fall in line with your preferred method.
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Dana Borgman

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Thanks George!  I appreciate the information.  Now I don't feel so off-in-the weeds.