Weather watchers wanted: CSU precipitation monitoring network recruiting volunteers

A Colorado State University-run precipitation monitoring network is looking for volunteers willing to measure and report rain, hail and snowfall across the country.

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network – or CoCoRaHS – is hoping to add new volunteers to its fleet of 20,000 trained observers. It is sponsoring a training session via webinar to anyone who is interested.

The session is scheduled for 4 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Thursday, May 29.

“Measuring rain, hail and snow is not rocket science but volunteers do need some training so they can make more accurate measurements,” said Nolan Doesken, who directs CoCoRaHS and also is the state climatologist based at CSU.

Volunteers are asked to purchase an official rain gauge and report observations to the CoCoRaHS website. The 4-inch diameter rain gauge costs around $30.

The 50-minute training session will address how to use the gauges and other common questions from volunteers such as:

• Where is the best place to mount my gauge?
• How high above the ground should the gauge be and how far from buildings and trees?
• How does the rain gauge work and how do I read it accurately?
• Do I need to report every day or just when it rains?
• What do I do when I’m on vacation? How do I log in and enter my data?

CSU launched CoCoRaHS in 1998 with a handful of volunteers in Northern Colorado. Since then it has morphed into a national network with volunteers in all 50 states and into Canada.

CoCoRaHS recently was honored by the American Meteorological Society with a special award for “building a community of over 15,000 volunteer observers dedicated to providing high-quality, reliable observations of daily precipitation across the United States.”