20 years ago, after a devastating flood, Colorado State University began seeking a means to collect accurate information regarding regional and local precipitation data to help emergency management, meteorologists, hydrologists and others to track levels of rain and snowfall.
The Colorado Climate Center’s Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is now a nationwide network of ordinary citizens with backyard rain gauges to provide the information that NASA satellites cannot. Citizen volunteers track rain and snow to collect information about the distribution and amount of precipitation a particular area.
CoCoRaHS’ version of March Madness is a friendly competition between states to recruit volunteers each year. As of March 25, the states at the Traditional count top five are South Carolina, followed by Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida. At the Per Capita top five count are North Dakota, South Carolina, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin. CoCoRaHS has over 20,000 volunteers across the U.S., Canada and the Bahamas but more are always needed. Volunteers need only an approved rain gauge to take part in this important service.
Applications are available at: cocorahs.org/application.aspx. Those without an approved rain gauge may order theirs at weatheryourway.com/cocorahs or they may contact their local area coordinator. Training is provided on line, at a training session or as a walk-in.
The winning state in each category will receive the CoCoRaHS Cup to keep and exhibit until next year’s contest.