WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- North Carolina is no stranger to tropical systems that carry the risk of heavy rain and flooding. The National Weather Service says without the help of volunteers, these events could be even more dangerous.
Meteorologists look at radar and other maps to monitor storms moving through the area. But radar is not always what it seems. Rainfall amounts can vary significantly over a short distance.
The National Weather Service needs help from observers to report what rain is actually falling where and how much. The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS, does just that. It is a group of observers who volunteer their time to measure and report rain, hail and snow to the national weather service.
Meteorologists say these reports are essential to protecting life and property.
"Having no observers is a terrifying thought, because we would really have no idea what is going on during an event until afterwards," NWS meteorologist Josh Weiss said. "By then, it may be too late to do what we are here to do. We need a network of observers. I can't imagine being able to do my job without trained and skilled observers out there reporting back to us."
CoCoRaHS has about 700 volunteers across the state. For more information on volunteering, visit cocorahs.com.