Thursday, March 07, 2013
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Volunteers needed to help measure rain and snow

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[March 07, 2013]  Each morning a dozen or so volunteers in Logan County head outside to check their rain gauges, measuring any precipitation that has fallen. They log on to a website and report their measurements, which are shared with others throughout the country. More volunteers are needed.

These volunteers are members of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network, known as CoCoRaHS. This is a grass-roots national program of backyard weather observers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation -- rain, hail and snow -- in their local communities.

CoCoRaHS is looking for weather observers to measure precipitation in Logan County and throughout central Illinois.

Observers use a standard 4-inch rain gauge to measure precipitation, which is then reported each day on the CoCoRaHS website. Participation requires only a few minutes each day and provides a valuable service to the community. Training is provided and no prior experience is necessary.

Anyone familiar with Illinois weather has probably seen storms that produce markedly varied rainfall and snowfall patterns within short distances.

"The amount you get might be quite different than what your neighbor a mile down the road gets," says Mary Moore, Logan County CoCoRaHS coordinator. "This is a great activity for those who want to learn more about the weather and climate, or those who involved in activities such as gardening or farming."

High-quality observations made by CoCoRaHS volunteers are used by a wide variety of organizations and individuals, including the National Weather Service, other meteorologists, hydrologists, emergency managers, city utilities (for issues related to water supply, conservation and stormwater), insurance adjusters, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, engineers, mosquito-control specialists, farmers, outdoor and recreational interests, teachers, students, and neighbors in the community.

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"The more rainfall observers we have, the better we can describe the amount and extent of precipitation in Illinois," says Steve Hilberg, Illinois CoCoRaHS co-coordinator. "CoCoRaHS observers are a valuable supplement to the daily weather observations by National Weather Service observers. Our volunteer observers were instrumental in helping monitor the drought this past summer and fall in Illinois."

For more information or to join CoCoRaHS, visit the website at

CoCoRaHS, a nonprofit organization, is supported by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other contributors. CoCoRaHS in Illinois is coordinated by the Illinois State Water Survey, the National Weather Service and the University of Illinois Extension Natural Resources Management Team.

[Text from news release received from Mary Moore, CoCoRaHS coordinator in Logan County]

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