CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain,
Hail and Snow network. If you don’t know already, CoCoRaHS is a grass roots volunteer network
made up of people of all ages and backgrounds, who measure and map precipitation, be it rain,
hail, or snow. The CoCoRaHS mission is two-fold: To provide quality precipitation
data as well as educational opportunities. Using low cost measuring tools, volunteers
figure out how much precipitation fell in their back yard – then they go to the CoCoRaHS
interactive website – which shows how much precipitation fell and where it hit. Observers
provide this information daily and in real time for alerts of extreme weather events.
Each measurement is like a pixel in picture – and the more pixels – the better the resolution
of where the precipitation did and did not fall. And what does that picture tell us?
Rain doesn’t fall the same on all! Precipitation can vary from inches from just blocks away.
The information our observers provide is used by various groups within the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration including the National Weather Service – who uses the data
for river forecasting, to verify radar estimates, and to improve on local forecasts and warnings,
among other things. Also, the National Drought Mitigation Center for drought impacts, the
National Hurricane Center to describe the overall impacts of tropical cyclone events.
Farmers, gardeners and naturalists for crop and botany health. Coastal Fisheries for safe
harvesting of shellfish. Mosquito control, and schools for education and research just
to name a few. Even some major league baseball clubs have started measuring and using the
data at their ballparks. With your help, we can all better understand the anatomy of a
storm which can directly provide early warnings of potential hazardous storms in your community.
Here are five easy steps to get started. One: Simply sign up on the CoCoRaHS web page.
Two: Obtain a 4 inch diameter high-capacity rain gauge – the info for getting one is on
the web site. Three: View the on-line training slide show
or attend a training session. Four: Set up the gauge in a good location
in your yard. Five: Start observing precipitation and report on-line daily. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s fun! We need
your help! So come and join us and soon you’ll be just
like us: Cuckoo for CoCoRaHS!