Live rain gauge data is something that is now collected, across a network which includes around 1000 automatic rain gauges. These don't need to be checked by observers, which used to happen each morning at the same time in hundreds of locations across the UK. The tipping bucket and similar designs can measure intensity as well as amounts, and don't just have a 24 hour total.
DEFRA have now made the data available as an API (as part of the Open Data initiative)
This has now been added to the vital GaugeMap resource. This is already an excellent resource for Geographers as it features live rive gauge measurements, which can also be turned into widgets.
At the bottom of the left hand column, there is now the option to add the rainfall layer.
This shows the gauges, click on a gauge to get the results, which could be for the day, week or month or year.
My nearest rain gauge appears to be Castle Acre.
Should be a great resource for those teaching about weather.
Watch out for a suitable weather forecast involving a front or mid-latitude depression crossing the country, and identify a line of rain gauges that the front should pass over during the day, and then watch the rainfall totals changing as the front moves across...