Still looking for a new local weather observer

Volunteer precipitation observers invited to join CoCoRaHS

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s state climatology office and the National Weather Service are recruiting volunteer precipitation observers across Iowa to participate in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network, known as “CoCoRaHS” (pronounced “KO-ko-rozz”).

All that is needed to participate is an interest in the weather, a four inch diameter rain gage, a suitable location to set up the gage and access to the internet. All data collected are immediately available for free online and are routinely used for flood forecasting, drought assessment, news media stories, scientific research and general weather interest.

Much more information about the network is available on the CoCoRaHS web site at www.cocorahs.org. The website includes information on how to join, where to obtain your rain gage and how to accurately measure and report rain and snow. There is no cost involved in joining or participating in the CoCoRaHS network other than the need for the four inch diameter rain gage.

The network was established by the Colorado Climate Center in 1998 and has now spread to all 50 states and Canada. Iowa joined this volunteer network in 2007 and now has more than 300 registered CoCoRaHS observers across the state. However, more observers are needed to better document the amount and variability of rain and snow across Iowa.

“In 2017 Iowa recorded its driest year since the drought of 2012. Severe drought gripped much of south central and southeast Iowa for the second consecutive year where rainfall has been as much as 25 inches less than normal over the past 24 months. Meanwhile, above normal rain amounts were restricted to relatively small areas of northeast and west central Iowa. The past few weeks have seen frequent precipitation with snowfall exceeding two feet at Fort Dodge during February,” said Harry Hillaker, state climatologist for Iowa. “Whatever comes our way in 2018, the weather observations obtained by this network can be of great benefit in obtaining a clearer picture of Iowa’s weather.”

Weather observers are needed everywhere but the most critical needs are in Worth, Wright, Allamakee, Bremer, Greene, Shelby, Cedar, Adair, Adams, Decatur, Monroe, Keokuk and Louisa counties.

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