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Press release from our good friends at the National Weather Service’s local headquarters on Woodley Island:


Citizen
Science Program needs your help observing the weather!


Do
you ever wonder how much rainfall you received from a recent
thunderstorm? How about snowfall during a winter storm? If so, an
important volunteer weather observing program needs your help! The
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, is
looking for new volunteers across northwest California. The
grassroots effort is part of a growing national network of home-based
and amateur rain spotters with a goal of providing a high density
precipitation network that will supplement existing observations.


CoCoRaHS
came about as a result of a devastating flash flood that hit Fort
Collins, Colorado, in July 1997. A local severe thunderstorm dumped
over a foot of rain in several hours while other portions of the city
had only modest rainfall. The ensuing flood caught many by surprise
and caused $200 million in damages. CoCoRaHS was born in 1998 with
the intent of doing a better job of mapping and reporting intense
storms. As more volunteers participated, rain, hail, and snow maps
were produced for every storm showing fascinating local patterns that
were of great interest to scientists and the public. Recently,
drought reporting has also become an important observation within the
CoCoRaHS program across the nation. In fact, drought observations
from CoCoRaHS are now being included in the National Integrated
Drought Information System.


Volunteers
may obtain an official rain gauge through the CoCoRaHS website
(http://www.cocorahs.org)
for about $35 plus shipping. Besides the need for an official 4-inch
plastic rain gauge, volunteers are required to take a simple training
module online and use the CoCoRaHS website to submit their reports.
Observations are immediately available on maps and reports for the
public to view. The process takes only five minutes a day, but the
impact to the community is tenfold: By providing high quality,
accurate measurements, the observers are able to supplement existing
networks and provide useful results to scientists, resource managers,
decision makers and other users.


We
are in need of new observers across the entire state, however we
would like to emphasize rural locations and areas of higher terrain.
A storm like the one that came through January 15th
and 16th
highlights the importance of having numerous rain and snow
observations in a variety of areas. This helps us study the storm and
improve our forecasts for the next one.


How
does one become a CoCoRaHS observer? Go to the CoCoRaHS website above
and click on the “Join CoCoRaHS” emblem on the upper right side
of the main website.  After registering, take the simple online
training, order your 4 inch rain gauge and start reporting! If you
have any questions, feel free to email Matthew Kidwell at the NWS in
Eureka at matthew.kidwell@noaa.gov
or call at 707-443-6484 and talk to Matthew Kidwell or Kathleen
Zontos.