April 22, 2021

CoCoRaHS Offers Free Rain Gauges to Backyard Weather Observers Near Burn Areas

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is offering a free rain gauge to anyone living in or near a recently affected wildfire area. There are no requirements, commitments or contracts; however, volunteers are asked to do their best to report their 24-hour precipitation amount each day.  

CoCoRaHS is a grassroots network of backyard volunteer weather observers, composed of all ages and backgrounds, measuring precipitation in their local communities. Precipitation data is collected and used daily by weather forecasters, water management organizations, climatologists, engineers and more. Since rainfall is so variable, even from one block to the next, this program uses manual rain gauges to better understand where and how much rain falls at each location.  

In addition to radar and satellite data collection, individual reporting amounts are extremely valuable to the meteorological community. This year, rain collection data is even more important. After a year of unprecedented wildfires, collecting this timely information from burn areas is key, as rainfall can cause flooding and water quality issues downstream.  

Reporting is quick and easy, even if the amount of rain is zero. Accumulation figures can be submitted on the CoCoRaHS website, via smartphone on a free app or called in to a recorded line. Training on collection and reporting is available on the CoCoRaHS website

There are many ways precipitation data is used. Specific to burn areas, the information will primarily be used by the National Weather Service and the River Forecast Centers for flood forecasting. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer backyard weather observer, please contact Noah Newman at noah@cocorahs.org.