National Weather Service seeks rainfall watchers
The National Weather Service (NWS) is seeking Island volunteers to join a growing national network of home-based and amateur rain spotters known as the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).
As of March 16, a total of 33 observers had signed up in Massachusetts. A national recruiting campaign is underway to sign up as many volunteers as possible, according to a NWS press release.
CoCoRaHS volunteers of all ages and backgrounds work together to measure and map precipitation including rain, hail and snow. Currently, over 12,000 volunteer observers in 40 states submit daily precipitation totals on the Web.
Massachusetts weather buffs of all ages and backgrounds can join CoCoRaHS, playing an active role in meteorological reporting and research using inexpensive equipment in their backyard. Participants can include individuals or organizations, including schools said NWS.
The only equipment needed is a 4-inch cylindrical rain gauge available from the network for $23 plus shipping and a yardstick to measure snow depth. Each volunteer is asked to read the rain gauge daily at the same time and upload the measurement to the Web site.
The process of reporting takes only five minutes a day, but the impact to the community is tenfold said NWS. The result is more precise information about where rain, snow, and hail falls and in what amount. Data gathered by volunteers provides important daily decision-making information on drought and water supply for agricultural and insurance industries, utility providers, resource managers, teachers, scientists, and homeowners.
Massachusetts averages between 40 and 50 inches of precipitation annually. The statewide record for 24 hour rainfall is 18.15 inches, set in Westfield on August 18-19, 1955.
The network hopes to reach 20,000 observers by 2010. Massachusetts CoCoRaHS is a collaboration of Colorado State University, National Weather Service offices in Albany, NY and Taunton, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the American Meteorological Society.
The non-profit network is sponsored in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service, as well as individual contributors and organizations. For more information go to www.cocorahs.org