More citizen observers are needed to help document the amount of rain, hail and snow that falls in various locations in western North Dakota.
The National Weather Service has a lengthy history of utilizing independent observers to assist them in gathering as much information as possible, particularly when it comes to storm reports. The NWS says it is currently seeking people to join its CoCoRaHS Network. CoCoRahs is short for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.
“We’re always looking for more observers,” said Rick Krolak, NWS Bismarck.
Ward County currently has 21 CoCoRaHS observers, a number Krolak says is “not too bad,” but more would be welcome. The concern for additional CoCoRaHS participants is greater in Williams County in the northwest area of the state. That county, said Krolak, has only 13 CoCoRaHS contributors.
Independent NWS weather observers track daily temperature readings and often rain and snow amounts, usually at long-time historical locations. It was the addition of CoCoRaHS that has enabled the NWS to gain better knowledge of rain, hail and snowfall events that can vary greatly in intensity over somewhat small areas. The CoCoRaHS program began in North Dakota about 2007.
“When we do storm reports, especially snowfall, one of the first places we go to is that CoCoRaHS database,” said Krolak.
Krolak said becoming a CoCoRaHS observer can sometimes be a family affair and is a great way to introduce children to weather reporting. CoCoRaHS observers are called upon to measure rain, hail and snowfall at their locations. Joining the CoCoRaHS network is easy.
“People have an easy time signing up, very easy,” explained Krolak. “Just go to cocorahs.org. Under the main menu there’s a one-page form. You sign up and away you go.”
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