Weather Watchers Wanted!

CoCoRaHS Volunteers Still Needed Across Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri!

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network, also known as CoCoRaHS, made its debut in Iowa on August 1, with Illinois and Missouri active since last year.  We are looking for as many volunteers as possible, especially in areas where precipitation data has historically been lacking, to report rain, hail, and snow data through the internet.

CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow).   By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Web-site, CoCoRaHS aims to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications.
In Illinois, about 550 observers have signed up across the state since CoCoRaHS began on December 1. Many more volunteers are still needed.
Where did the CoCoRaHS Network originate??
The network originated with the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in 1998 thanks in part to the Fort Collins flood a year prior.  In the years since, CoCoRaHS has expanded rapidly with nearly 4,000 observers in 18 states. Folks in many parts of the country have shown interest in having their state join the CoCoRaHS Network in the not too distant future.
Who can participate??
This is a community project.  Everyone can help, young, old, and in between.  The only requirements are an enthusiasm for watching and reporting weather conditions, a 4-inch plastic rain gauge that is the standard for CoCoRaHS observers, and a desire to learn more about how weather can affect and impact our lives.
What will our volunteer observers be doing??
Each time a rain, hail, or snow storm crosses your area, volunteers take measurements of precipitation from as many locations as possible.  These precipitation reports are then recorded on the CoCoRaHS website (   The data are then displayed and organized for many of our end users to analyze and apply to daily situations ranging from water resource analysis and severe storm warnings to neighbors comparing how much rain fell in their backyards. Remember, reporting zeroes can be just as important as reporting heavy rain, especially in drought situations like the one that has developed in the past couple months.
Who uses CoCoRaHS??
CoCoRaHS is used by a wide variety of organizations and individuals.  The National Weather Service, other meteorologists, hydrologists, emergency managers, city utilities (water supply, water conservation, storm water), insurance adjusters, USDA, engineers, mosquito control, ranchers and farmers, outdoor and recreation interests, teachers, students, and neighbors in the community are just some examples of those who visit the CoCoRaHS site and use the data.

What do we hope to accomplish??
CoCoRaHS has several goals. 1) provide accurate high-quality precipitation data for our many end users on a timely basis; 2) increasing the density of precipitation data available throughout the country by encouraging volunteer weather observing; 3) encouraging citizens to have fun participating in meteorological science and heightening their awareness about weather; 4) providing enrichment activities in water and weather resources for teachers, educators and the community at large to name a few. 

What benefits are there in volunteering??
One of the neat things about participating in this network is coming away with the feeling that you have made an important contribution that helps others.  By providing your daily observation, you help to fill in a piece of the weather puzzle that affects many across your area in one way or another. You also will have the chance to make some new friends as you do something important and learn some new things along the way. In some areas, activities are organized for network participants including training sessions, field trips, special speakers, picnics, pot-luck dinners, and photography contests, just to name a few.

How can I sign up??
To sign up, simply go to the CoCoRaHS web site and click on "Join CoCoRaHS".  You can order a rain gauge on that site if you don’t already have one, and training materials online will help you find the best place to site your gauge.  Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri are all taking volunteers!

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