The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s State Climatology Office and the National Weather Service in Des Moines are recruiting volunteer precipitation observers across Iowa to participate in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network known as CoCoRaHS.
All that is needed to participate is an interest in the weather, a four-inch-diameter rain gage and a suitable location to set up the gage. All data collected are immediately available for free online and are routinely used for flood forecasting, scientific research and general weather interest.
More information about the network is available on the CoCoRaHS web site at www.cocorahs.org. The website includes information on how to join, where to purchase your rain gage and how to accurately measure and report rain and snow.
The network was established by the Colorado Climate Center in 1998 and has now spread to all fifty states and Canada. Iowa joined this volunteer network in 2007 and now has over 300 registered CoCoRaHS observers across the state, but more observers are needed to better document the amount and variability of rain and snow across Iowa.
"This year Iowa has seen an amazing range of precipitation events, with the wettest spring season on record, including a record May snow event, followed by the second driest July to September period on record," said Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist for Iowa. "Whatever comes our way, the weather observations obtained by this network can be of great benefit in obtaining a clearer picture of Iowa’s weather."