Climatologist Harry Hillaker says they need people with an interest in the weather who can purchase a four-inch diameter rain gauge, set it up in a suitable location and post their daily readings on the internet.
“That data gets used for a variety of purposes,” Hillaker says. “It helps the National Weather Service issuing flood warnings when there’s unusual rain events occurring in places other than where official weather stations are at. It also helps on the other end of the spectrum as far as drought conditions and just how dry things are.”
On a typical day, making the observations and recording them should only take a few minutes.
Hillaker says it may not sound like a big deal, but these volunteer observers play a key role in helping better document the amount and variability of rain and snow.
Joining the network of observers is free, but specific equipment is a must.
“There is a particular type of rain gauge that is used, not the least expensive thing, roughly $30 to 40 to get that gauge that’s required,” Hillaker says, “and the type of gauge does make a difference.”
The multi-state group is known as CoCoRaHS (CO-co-roz), the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network.
It was launched in Colorado in 1998 and is now in all 50 states and Canada.