CoCoRaHS (pronounced ko-ko-rozz) stands for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network. It is a network of weather observers of all ages and backgrounds who report rain, hail, and snow measurements in their communities. CoCoRaHS was founded at the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in 1998, a year after a destructive flood in Fort Collins. What began as a small network of observers in northern Colorado has grown to include thousands of observers across the country. The goals of CoCoRaHS are:
- Provide accurate high-quality precipitation data on a timely basis
- Increase the density of precipitation data available throughout the country
- Encourage citizens to participate in meteorological science and heighten their awareness about weather
- Provide enrichment activities in water and weather resources for teachers, educators, and the community at large
The unique thing about CoCoRaHS is that anyone can join. Volunteers take measurements after every rain, hail, and snow event. That data is sent to the CoCoRaHS website and used by a wide range of groups and people. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Weather Service, and broadcast meteorologists all utilize this data. Rainfall measurements are taken using the CoCoRaHS Rain Gauge, which is pictured below. A ruler and snowboard, which is a flat piece of plywood painted white measuring at least 16″ x 16″, is recommended to measure snow.
Data is mapped on the CoCoRaHS website and is available for anyone to view. Reports are often sparse in rural areas because of the lack of population. However, measurements from rural areas are just as important as those from urban areas. This issue is particularly noticeable across the western United States.
Currently, CoCoRaHS March Madness is going on. This is a recruiting contest between all 50 states to see which state can recruit the most new observers during the month of March. Minnesota has won this contest the past 3 years and is currently leading in 2023 as well! If you are interested in joining this network and providing data for researchers, scientists, and the public, please consider signing up at the link below.
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