Colorado State University to Train Denver Area Weather Observers to Monitor Drought, Long-term Climate

Colorado State University’s award-winning volunteer precipitation monitoring network will train Denver metro area weather observers during April to monitor drought and long-term climate conditions.

In a year where drought conditions conjure up thoughts of a long fire season with dwindling water supplies, the saying “because every drop counts” might mean more now than ever before, said Nolan Doesken, founder of the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network and state climatologist based at Colorado State University.

“Because every drop counts” is the tagline for the network, known as CoCoRaHS. When the organization was founded 15 years ago at Colorado State University’s Climate Center, no one knew just how crucial it would become in monitoring long-term climate conditions.

“CoCoRaHS was intended to help measure precipitation in real time by providing warning during potentially dangerous flood events, like the one that hit Fort Collins in July 1997,” Doesken said. “Now we’re monitoring drought conditions, water supplies, tropical storms, snow, hail and even evapo-transpiration, not just here in Colorado, but across the entire country and even portions of Canada.”

CoCoRaHS is making a push this spring and summer to expand this volunteer network. The goal is to have at least one person per square mile taking observations along the Front Range and as many as possible elsewhere in the state to better track the remarkable variability in local precipitation.

Schedule of upcoming CoCoRaHS training events:

• April 3 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) Highlands Ranch Library, 9292 Ridgeline Blvd., Highlands Ranch

• April 6 (10 a.m.-noon), Aurora Central Library, 14949 E. Alameda Pkwy., Aurora

• April 13 (12:30-230 p.m.) Castle Rock Library, 100 S. Wilcox, Castle Rock

• April 16 (6:30-830 p.m.) Aurora Central Library, 14949 E. Alameda Pkwy., Aurora

• April 25 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) SE Aurora Library (Tallyn’s Reach), 23911 E. Arapahoe Road, Aurora

• April 27 (10 a.m. to noon), Adams County Regional Park (Fairgrounds), 9755 Henderson Road, Brighton

“We know it’s a lofty goal, but in a place like Denver, where there are literally thousands of backyard weather enthusiasts, it’s obtainable,” said CoCoRaHS National Coordinator Henry Reges. “Of course it will be difficult where there are wide open spaces, like the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, but if we can get as close to that goal as possible, we will be happy.”

Training materials are available online for volunteers who can’t attend. Additional classes will be offered in May around the Denver area.

For more information, or to sign up to volunteer, go to or contact Chris Spears at