Join CoCoRaHS Today!
CoCoRaHS is a practical, enjoyable and useful activity. If you have an interest in weather and would like to help your local community, as well as scientists and others interested in precipitation, then CoCoRaHS is for you. It only takes a few minutes a day and gives you the chance to participate in real hands-on science. You’ll be amazed at what you learn as you become more aware of the variable weather that impacts you, your neighbors, your state and our entire country.
A brief History
CoCoRaHS came about as a result of a devastating flash flood that hit Fort Collins, Colorado in July 1997. A very localized storm 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. By 2010 CoCoRaHS became a nationwide volunteer network.
Data on the web
Volunteers post their daily observations on the CoCoRaHS Web site. Observations are immediately available on maps and reports for the public to view. 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.
CoCoRaHS is Educational
CoCoRaHS offers a variety of learning opportunities. In addition to training, periodic email and newsletters inform participants about how CoCoRaHS data are used in meteorology,hydrology and other fields. CoCoRaHS is also developing classroom resources for teachers. By participating in a science project with a ‘local feel’,citizens develop a sense of community with fellow observers and raise awareness about their surrounding environment.
Why is there so much interest in rain, hail and snow?
Precipitation is essential for life. It varies greatly with topography, storm type and season. It really
is true that it may pour on one side of the street and be dry on the other. A portion of a field maybe pounded by hail while others nearby receive no damage. Snowfall may pile up in one neighborhood and only dust another. Rain, hail and snow are fairly easy to measure, and the data collected are very important. Meteorologists,hydrologists, engineers, builders . . . you name it, everyone seems to care about rain, hail and snow. And for some, like farmers, it is their very livelihood.
Volunteers of all ages welcome!
The foundation of the CoCoRaHS network are individuals and family volunteers of all ages, from all walks of life, willing to spend a few minutes each day measuring and reporting precipitation. This is a project we can all help with.
Training: “the Key to our success”
It is important that all CoCoRaHS precipitation reports be as accurate and consistent as possible. Training is provided to teach new observers how to install their instruments, properly measure precipitation and send in reports.
Joining our grassroots volunteer network of backyard weather observers of all ages and backgrounds is easy! We are working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow) in our local communities. By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Web-site, our aim is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. The only requirements to join are an enthusiasm for watching and reporting weather conditions and a desire to learn more about how weather can affect and impact our lives.
The basic program requirements are listed below.
- Buy the official CoCoRhAS rain gauge. This heavy duty gauge has been scientifically proven to be accurate within 1/100th of an inch to what is reported at airport observation stations. You can find one online for about $35 plus shipping.
- Take a simple online training course on reading the rain gauge and making reports to the National Weather Service. The is critical so the data submitted is accurate each day.
- Submit your rain totals each day at 0700 or so to CoCoRhAS using their website or iPhone/Android applications.