What's the Weather in Your Backyard? When you hear the rainfall amount from the official gage, have you ever said, "That's not what I got!"
Beginning in September 2007, you can let us know how much rain, hail, or snow you measured in your backyard by joining the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS). This new program will help meteorologists, researchers, the media, and others see and study the variability of precipitation across North Carolina. The accumulated precipitation data will be available to anyone using the web.
Local Volunteer Coordinators are needed now to help grow this network across North Carolina. The main duties of the volunteer coordinators will be to help answer new observer questions, contact new observers to help start reporting, and help with training - although training slides and information are available at the CoCoRaHS web site. Other Volunteer Coordinator duties along with answers to most questions can be found searching through the tabs on the CoCoRaHS main web page.
Visit the CoCoRaHS web site to learn more about the program and sign up to be a volunteer observer. If you would like to be a Volunteer Coordinator for your county in North Carolina, contact our office.
CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. 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, the aim is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. CoCoRaHS currently operates in many states across the country.
Download the CoCoRaHS brochure as a PDF. (2.4 MB)
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 over 3,500 observers in eighteen 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.
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 and a desire to learn more about how weather can effect and impact our lives.
Each time a rain, hail or snow storm crosses your area, volunteers take measurements of precipitation from as many locations as possible (see rain gage to right). These precipitation reports are then recorded on our Web site www.cocorahs.org. 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.
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 & recreation interests, teachers, students, and neighbors in the community are just some examples of those who use the data.
CoCoRaHS has several goals (as stated in the mission statement). 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.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a major sponsor of CoCoRaHS. Other organizations have contributed either financially, and/or with supplies and equipment. The list of sponsors continues to grow. Click here to visit our sponsor's page. Many other organizations and individuals have pitched in time and resources to help keep the network up and running. We are grateful to all of you, as CoCoRaHS would not be possible without your help.
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.
An online application form is provided on the CoCoRaHS website.
Thanks for your interest in CoCoRaHS - Because Every Drop Counts!
CoCoRaHS is a collaborative project with the State Climate Office of North Carolina, NOAA, Colorado State University, and regional partners.