If you live in or near Monticello, Hazard or Pikevlle and are interested in the weather, perhaps you could help us out by becoming a Cooperative Weather Observer for the National Weather Service.
What is the job of a Co-Op observer?
To provide accurate and complete weather data, observations are necessary seven days a week, 365 days a year. This does not mean that someone has to be monitoring the "weather" all the time and that you cannot take a vacation, however. Instruments are provided to monitor temperature and precipitation, but someone should be available to record the daily maximum and minimum temperature, the precipitation, and snowfall each day. This generally is done around 7 am, but observation times can be shifted to fit the observers schedule.
This information is generally phoned into the local NWS office for quality assurance before being forwarding to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina.
What equipment do I use?
Personnel from the NWS will deliver, set up and maintain the necessary equipment. Typically, the Co-Op station consists of a set of Maximum/Minimum thermometers or a Max/Min Temperature System (MMTS) and a 8 inch stainless steel rain gauge. Precipitation is measured by placing a calibrated stick into the tube, seeing where the water marks the stick and recording the data.
At the end of each month, the charts and forms are forwarded to the Jackson NWS office for quality assurance, then forwarded to NCDC.
What kind of training is involved?
Training consists of on site, hands on instruction with the designated Co-Op Observer and their backup. This usually is done the same day as the equipment is installed and takes about one hour. If necessary, additional training may be provided upon request. Basic equipment maintenance is discussed and the Co-Op observer is provided with a name ("point of contact") and a number should additional questions or problems arise.
Please visit National Weather Service Jackson's Cooperative Program Management Web Page for more information, including recent observations.
If you have additional questions, please call (or e-mail) David Stamper (David.Stamper@noaa.gov) at 606/666-2560 ext 327. Dave is the Observing Program Leader for the National Weather Service office at Jackson.