CoCoRaHS gives weather fans chance to chip in

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hurricanes, storms and stubborn, pesky drizzle are all too familiar events here in North Carolina. Meteorologists often track these things with radar and automatic gauges, but are on the look-out for something, or someone, else. You!

“Having the observers out in the field actually reporting to us the rainfall that occurs during a storm is the only way we can actually know what is going on,” CoCoRaHS regional coordinator Josh Weiss said.

It’s recruitment month for CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Think of it as a team of people across the state reporting back to meteorologists what’s actually happening at the surface .

“It’s called ground truth,” Weiss said.

And all you need to join is a rain gauge and internet access.

The rain gauge costs between $25 and $30, and it’s fairly easy to use. First, make sure the gauge is set up in an open area away from any trees, roofs, or other obstructions. Then record and report around the same time every day.

“Take the top off, set it to the side, lift it up and take a measurement,” CoCoRaHS observer Brian Fairbanks said. “When you take a measurement, you want to take it from the bottom of the meniscus.”

That’s the bottom of the curve water makes in a container.

“Like right now, we have seen two-hundredths of an inch of rain so far today,” Fairbanks said.

He joined CoCoRaHS back in 2007. He has no meteorology degree; just a strong interest in weather.

Click here for more information on CoCoRaHS and how to join

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