The CoCoRahs North Carolina rainfall map.

For a wealth of information on regional weather, visit the National Weather Service out of Newport/Morehead City by clicking here

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, is looking for new volunteers across North Carolina.

The grassroots effort is part of a growing national network of home-based and amateur weather spotters with a goal of providing a high-density precipitation network across the country.

Through CoCoRaHS, thousands of volunteers, young and old, document the size, intensity, duration and patterns of rain, hail, and snow by taking simple measurements in their own backyards.

The process takes only five minutes a day, but observers help the community by supplying additional useful data to scientists and others.

In Hyde County, there are four active observers: one in Scranton, one in Swan Quarter, one in Engelhard, and one on Ocracoke.

“We’d love to have eight to 10 observers on Ocracoke to really map out the spatial differences in rainfall across the island,” said David Glenn, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service office in Newport.

In this program, volunteers report precipitation with a simple, four-inch plastic rain gauge.

CoCoRaHS came about as a result of a devastating flash flood that hit Fort Collins, Colorado, in July 1997 when a local severe thunderstorm dumped over a foot of rain in several hours.

The ensuing flood caught many by surprise and caused $200 million in damages.

CoCoRaHS was born in 1998 with the intent of doing a better job of mapping and reporting intense storms.

Photo courtesy of NASA.GOV

Recently, drought reporting has also become an important observation within the CoCoRaHS program across the nation.

North Carolina became the twenty-first state to join the CoCoRaHS program in 2007.

“CoCoRaHS observers provided valuable data for both Hurricane Florence and Dorian,” said Sean Heuser, CoCoRaHS state co-coordinator and manager of the NC ECONet at the State Climate Office of NC. “For these high intensity events, whether they are tropical systems or afternoon thunderstorms, CoCoRaHS observers are able to fill in gaps and provide a clearer picture of where we see precipitation maximums.”

Volunteers may obtain program details and receive an official rain gauge for about $33 plus shipping on the CoCoRaHS website

Besides the need for the official rain gauge, volunteers are asked to review simple training modules online and use the CoCoRaHS website to submit their reports.

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