Tuesday, March 4, 2014

National Weather Service Seeking Volunteer Precipitation Observers in Winston County

JACKSON – The National Weather Service’s Jackson Mississippi Weather Forecast Office is
looking for volunteers in Winston County to join the CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative
Rain, Hail, and Snow) network. Volunteers would spend no more than a few minutes each day
taking simple rainfall and snowfall measurements in their own backyard. People of all ages and
backgrounds are welcome to participate in the network.
All that is required are low-cost measurement tools and an internet connection to send in the reports. Those who are interested in  joining the network should visit the National Weather Service Jackson webpage
(http://www.weather.gov/jan/) or call the office at 601-936-2189 for more information.

Data collected by CoCoRaHS observers is used by meteorologists to improve river forecasts and
flood warnings and to verify what is being shown by weather radar. Data collected by volunteers
from Winston County can help improve Noxubee River and Pearl River forecasts. CoCoRaHS
data is also used in weather research, which can improve weather forecasts and warnings in the
future. Other occupations that frequently rely on CoCoRaHS observations include farmers,
gardeners, emergency managers, insurance adjusters, and engineers.

So far in 2014, there is only one active CoCoRaHS observer in Winston County. Additional
observers are desired in many areas, including Louisville and Noxapater.

CoCoRaHS is a non-profit community based network that began in 1998 as a local project at
Colorado State University’s Colorado Climate Center. The idea for the program came about as
the result of a devastating flood that impacted Fort Collins, Colorado in 1997. The flood was not
well detected by traditional weather observing networks. Over the years, CoCoRaHS has
expanded to include thousands of volunteers covering the entire United States and part of
Canada. Mississippi joined the program in August 2008 and now has over one hundred
participants.