After a dozen years, a popular, state weather website has a new design.
The NeRAIN website, which stands for Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network, is run by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Jim Williams, DNR engineer, says retooling was necessary, partly because the server and software were too old to update.
“We also wanted to get a new look and feel,” Williams tells Nebraska Radio Network. “We wanted to make the new website a little friendlier for folks who use mobile phones or tablets.”
Google Maps were incorporated to give the site a fresh look, which Williams says it gets hundreds of thousands of hits a year.
“And that’s taking out the web robots that often go after these kinds of sites,” he points out. “It is far and away the website with the most activity related to the Department of Natural Resources.”
The website counts on hundreds of citizen scientists to upload rainfall totals as well as snow and hail reports.
“It’s a four-inch diameter, clear plastic rain gauge, so we know exactly what we’re measuring,” Williams explains. “They actually check that rain gauge every single day. So we’ve asked the volunteers not to use any sort of automatic equipment.”
He says the Department works with regional Natural Resource Districts to provide training for volunteers.
And there is always a need for more weather watchers to join the effort.
“Some volunteers get upset when somebody moves in near them, but I tell them to be happy about that,” Williams says. “It is really surprising how different rainfall can be just a few blocks or a few miles away.”
A link to the NeRAIN website is HERE.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:41]