Wanted – Rain, Hail, and Snow Reports


More North Sound volunteers are needed to measure rain, hail and snow precipitation from their backyard. A program called CoCoRaHS or Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network is where volunteers work together to measure precipitation across the nation. The program started in 1999 in Colorado and has spread to all 50 states, Canada, and a number of U.S. territories, and today has over 20,000 volunteers reporting daily precipitation.

September is here and the fall rainy season is not far away. With a third La Nina winter season on the horizon, more lowland snow is likely this winter as well. In the North Sound, more volunteers are needed to measure these three kinds of precipitation to add finer detail across the region.

Precipitation amounts vary widely across the North Sound thanks to the complex topography including the Olympic Mountains and its rain shadow, the Puget Sound, the Cascades, and even phenomenon like the Puget Sound Convergence Zone. As is often said, the devil is in the details, and more CoCoRaHS volunteers offering backyard measurements of rain, snow and hail reveal those details. For instance, when rain falls instead as snow, the amounts from one location to another are often vastly and visibly different.

Becoming involved as a CoCoRaHS volunteer is simple. Visit cocorahs.org for all the details. Registration takes only a few minutes on-line. Several options to obtain a 4-inch rain gauge are offered for less than $50 including shipping. The cocorahs.org website also offers easy training including where to site your rain gauge, how to properly measure snow and hail, how to report your daily precipitation, and more. And if you are out of town for a period of time, there are multi-day reports as well.

A number of organizations use CoCoRaHS reports. These groups include the National Weather Service, your county emergency management office, area TV weather anchors, the University of Washington, the Washington State Climatologist, engineers, insurance groups, and many more. CoCoRaHS information is of great interest on a daily, monthly and year round basis.

Precipitation reports are shared locally and nationwide on the cocorahs.org website. Relatives and friends can compare precipitation measurements. CoCoRaHS is also a great school project.

CoCoRaHS is a fine way to contribute to your community. Perhaps you will become cuckoo for CoCoRaHS – because every drop counts.