National Weather service seeking volunteer observers in area counties

Do you enjoy recording weather conditions in your own backyard? 

Do you like to keep track of how much rain or snow fell at your location? 

If so, the National Weather Service office in Paducah says that you might want to consider joining the CoCoRaHS network.

In a notice which was posted on its website, the weather service noted that it is interested in finding new observers in 10 Southern Illinois counties.

Those counties include Alexander, Edwards, Gallatin, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pulaski, Wabash, Wayne and White. 

New observers also are being sought in Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana.

Every morning, CoCoRaHS observers record important measurements of how much rain, hail or snow fell at their location during the previous 24 hours and send that information out via the CoCoRaHS web page.

Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds (citizen scientists) are measuring precipitation in their own backyards as part of CoCoRaHS – the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, which has grown to over 15,000 volunteer observers covering every state of the country.  

The weather services says that more volunteers are urgently needed.

“We are pleased that this simple backyard monitoring program has become so popular,” said Nolan Doesken, the Colorado state climatologist at the Colorado Climate Center in Fort Collins, Colo. 

“These volunteers are providing scientists around the country with excellent precipitation and hail monitoring statistics for tracking weather patterns and water supplies.”

The CoCoRaHS network engages volunteers of all ages, from grade schoolers on up to folks in their 90s.

Volunteers document the size, intensity, duration and patterns of precipitation by taking simple measurements in their own backyards. 

Volunteers only need a cylindrical rain gauge, some training and an interest in weather to participate in the program. 

The specific rain gauges that CoCoRaHS uses are available from distributors on the network’s website at www.cocorahs.org for about $30.

Data from CoCoRaHS volunteers are now being routinely viewed and used by many professions and organizations.

Those who utilize the information include the National Weather Service, meteorologists, hydrologists, emergency managers, city utilities, insurance adjusters, agribusinesses, engineers, science teachers and many more.  

Data are used for many applications such as water resource planning, severe storm warnings, teaching earth science, predicting crop yields and for assessing hail damage.

Joining the CoCoRaHS program is free; however, all observers are required to purchase and install an official CoCoRaHS rain gauge to ensure accuracy and consistency from all observations. 

An online application form for the program is available at http://www.cocorahs.org/application.aspx.

Volunteers will be asked to complete online training or to attend a classroom session in order to participate.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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