Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) turns 20

Chris Carparelli makes sure the rain gauge is level at the Beaverhead Conservation District office in Dillon, Montana. UW Photo: David Keto

A deadly rainstorm on the west side of Fort Collins, Colorado, led to an international network of citizen weather observers you can join.

CoCoRaHS officially began on June 17, 1998, with a few observers along Colorado’s Front Range. Today, more than 20,000 observers are active in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and the Bahamas.

Volunteers include gardeners, rural landowners, teachers, students, youth in 4-H and after-school programs, and other volunteers. It takes about five minutes a day to measure and report precipitation using low-cost measurement tools and the interactive CoCoRaHS website or phone application.

The CoCoRaHS network provides valuable data for natural resource management, education and research. Meteorologists, flood plain managers, insurance adjusters, farmers, ranchers and recreationists use CoCoRaHS data to make decisions such as when to plan a trip or when to issue severe storm warnings.

To learn more, including how to volunteer, see the new fact sheet from University of Wyoming Extension at bit.ly/weathervolunteer and visit the CoCoRaHS website at www.cocorahs.org.