Sunday, June 22, 2008

Volunteering for CoCoRaHS

I recently signed up to participate as an observer for CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, & Snow Network. As the name implies, this is a network of “Volunteers working together measure precipitation across the nation.” And why do they do it? “Because every drop counts.”

Michigan is slated to join the CoCoRaHS network starting July 1st. My Station Number is MI-BN-3 (i.e., it is the third CoCoRaHS station to be assigned a number in Berrien County). My Station Name is Buchanan 1.4 ESE (i.e., it is located 1.4 ESE of the town of Buchanan).


Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

Welcome to the family! Got your gauge installed yet?

I've been CoCoRaHSing since July 14, 2007 down here from TN-LS-2 and haven't missed a single date (if you allow me to include the days covered by multi-day accumulations). Checking the gauge and entering my daily CoCoRaHS data has become an integral part of my morning routine. As of today I've reported a total of 55.92" of precip over not quite a full year yet, including an awful lot of zeros in those first weeks last summer before our drought broke. My biggest number so far has been 4.07" on 10/23/07. Of course down here that annual total has only included 4.50" of snow and ice accumulation (0.83" liquid equivalent -- we get mostly freezing rain, sleet, and wet snow here, not much of the dry fluffy stuff). You'll get to spend a WHOLE lot more time than I do taking snow cores and melting them!

Although I suppose I could claim to date back to 1997... CoCoRAHS was established in the aftermath of the Great Flood of 1997 in Fort Collins, Colorado and is still headquartered there. An overnight flash flood ripped through the heart of town, killed 5 people, derailed a freight train, and did massive damage to the University and many neighborhoods and businesses. One of my coworkers woke up to find her bed floating, and had to swim to high ground through a swamp of broken glass. In the effort to piece together what had happened, a call went out for everyone who had a rain gauge, stray bucket, or anything else that had caught the rain to call in and report whatever they could measure. We were one of the dots on that map -- the map that showed rainfall ranging from under 2" to over 14" (!!!) in just a few miles, and proved the need for a volunteer rainfall monitoring network to fill the massive gaps between existing reporting stations.

June 26, 2008 12:45 AM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...

I appreciate the comment and the "welcome aboard," Bill. I'm anxious to get started, but there may be a slight delay getting up and running. I ordered my rain gauge a week ago, but there was a backlog and it wasn't to shipped until the 27th. And then, I'll be out of town for the first week of July, so I'll just have to bide my time. Michigan officially joins the CoCoRaHS network on July 1st, but I notice that a few stations have already started sending in their reports.

Having grown up a short distance from the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, I'm well acquainted with how variable winter snowfall can be (i.e., the so-called "lake effect"). It will be interesting to compare snowfall records from sites on Lake Michigan with totals from my more inland location.

June 28, 2008 7:54 AM  

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