Here’s a great idea for those of you looking for an inexpensive hobby, one that fits all ages. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for a family project, teaching children how the weather impacts our lives.
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is a non-profit organization with more than 11,000 active volunteers monitoring precipitation throughout the 50 United States (and Canada) and could use your help. Since rainfall varies from street to street, information from a variety of volunteers is vitally important.
What’s needed to participate?
Low-cost measurement tools:
- a 4″ plastic rain gauge
- a ruler
- a computer with an internet connection
Whenever rain, hail, or snow falls in your area, you, as a volunteer, measure the precipitation in your backyard. You then record it on the CoCoRaHS web page. This helps the National Weather Service, meteorologists, hydrologists, city utilities, USDA, engineers, mosquito control, ranchers, and farmers follow weather patterns across the country and informs the public about potential floods, drought, and severe storms.
Training is provided and, in some areas, activities are organized for field trips, special speakers, and contests. You’ll meet people with similar interests as yours as well as providing a necessary service for your community.
For more information, go to CoCoRaHS and click on “Volunteer Coordinators” to find your state coordinator. They will be happy to give you further information and other possible opportunities to help this exciting organization, such as recruiting volunteers, becoming a local coordinator, planning educational/training programs, and more.