Become a volunteer weather observer as part of ‘March Madness’

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Tje CoCoRaHS Cup is awarded to the state that recruits the most weather spotting volunteers during the 31 days of March. - Courtesy Joseph Dellicarpin

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, is looking for additional volunteers across Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. According to a press release, the only requirements are an enthusiasm for watching and reporting weather conditions and a desire to learn more about how weather can impact our lives.

CoCoRaHS “March Madness” is a friendly recruiting contest in all 50 states to see who can recruit the most new volunteers during the 31 days of March. The winning state receives the prestigious CoCoRaHS Cup, which was awarded to Arizona last year. There is always a need for more observations; as the saying goes, “the rain doesn’t fall the same on all.” Due to the variability of precipitation, amounts measured can be quite different only a few blocks away.

To sign up, go to cocorahs.org. After registering, take the simple online training, order your four-inch-diameter rain gauge, and start reporting on your computer or by smartphone app. You can obtain the plastic rain gauge through CoCoRaHS for about $30 plus shipping.

CoCoRaHS is a unique, nonprofit, community-based, citizen-science network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation including rain, hail, and snow. Observers in all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and even the White House submit daily precipitation amounts. In 2015, more than 20,000 CoCoRaHS observers submitted over 4 million reports. The data is used by researchers, water resource planners, state and local officials, and the National Weather Service.

From its headquarters at Colorado State University, CoCoRaHS was introduced to Rhode Island in 2008 and to Connecticut and Massachusetts in 2009. In 2016, CoCoRaHS will add the islands of the Bahamas to its growing international network.

Photos (free to use, or go to www.cocorahs.org for more photos)

The “CoCoRaHS Cup”

Connecticut CoCoRaHS Coordinator Matt Spies with a

Rain Gauge