FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — If you are a weather enthusiast, a national group of weather watchers is looking for local volunteers to join their ranks.
CoCoRaHS or the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network is looking for volunteers to gather daily weather measurements. It’s spread all across the country and asks volunteers to gather and provide information from their own backyards. The data is collected in a database that is useful to many organizations, including the National Weather Service (NWS), media, researchers, and even city utilities.
Norene Keller has been a CoCoRaHS observer in Steuben County since 2007. “I have loved weather since I’ve been a child,” said Keller, “This was just another way to help and help my community.”
The observations are quick and easy to take, along with being convenient since most users place their rain gauge or snow pad in their backyard. “I think it’s simple. I go out every morning walk out to my rain gauge and I melt the snow if it’s snow,” described Keller, “If it’s rain it’s really easy in the summertime, you just take the little tube out and look at it and go in and write it down. I go to the CoCoRaHS App on my phone so it’s super easy or you can do it on your home computer.”
These observations provide important information as they provide data for specific locations that could assist in issuing warnings based on heavy precipitation or hail.
“The more observations we have the more data we have,” added Kyle Brown, a Meteorologist at the NWS Northern Indiana Office, “Therefore, in examples where we are in a pattern where we have pop-up thunderstorms every day. We can then maybe fine-tune, I think this spot was hit yesterday and they had an inch and a half from that last thunderstorm. I’m going to be a little more concerned about flooding in this instance. So that could help our warning operations as well.”
Weather enthusiasts of ALL ages are welcome to become CoCoRaHS observers.