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Looking for rainfall volunteers! In Georgia and elsewhere

If you are a Georgia Extension agent, you may have stopped by my table at the meeting down in Tifton this week to see my CoCoRaHS rain gauge and checked your county to see how many rainfall observers your county has. But whether you have 50 or none, we would love to add your new station to our map! And you don’t have to be in Georgia to be a CoCoRaHS observer either. This month is “March Madness”, when states around the country compete for the chance to recruit the most new observers. So far Georgia has not had too many, but I hope we can change that this year.

CoCoRaHS stands for “Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow” network, a nationwide (and now including Canada and the Bahamas too) network of volunteer precipitation observers who purchase a professional rain gauge and use it to make daily rainfall measurements which they report via web site or smartphone app. All of those observations together give us a good look at precipitation patterns over the last day and fill in gaps where no official observations are taken. That information is used by the Drought Monitor, the National Weather Service, and other organizations to get a better picture of how much rain fell. It’s especially important in areas which are lightly populated and regular observations are hard to come by. There are at least 30 counties in Georgia that don’t have a single rainfall observer, and another 30 with only one observer, even in very large counties. The more observations we have, the better our picture of drought and exceptionally wet conditions. The picture of the woman holding the CoCoRaHS gauge here is Becky Odum, who measured 34 inches of rain in Hurricane Florence last year.

If you are interested in participating, you can go to www.cocorahs.org for more information or to sign up as a new observer. You can also find a link to purchase your professional gauge (we need rain gauges that read to 0.01 inches–you can’t buy these at your local hardware store) for about $35 from one of the two vendors listed on the bottom right side of the page. They are cheaper than most commercial sites and even cheaper than Amazon! Set it up when it arrives in the mail and spend a quick 5 minutes a day making your observation each morning and reporting it online. The web site has videos and slide shows to show you how to set up your rain gauge and take observations and also has special videos to describe how to measure snow as well as a lot of extra information for Master Gardeners, educators, etc.

Please feel free to contact me if you need more information at pknox@uga.edu. I am a regional coordinator and have measured rainfall for more than 10 years since the network started in Georgia.  And check out my rainfall observations at GA-CK-6 in Clarke County.

Go Georgia CoCoRaHS!

Becki Odum with the CoCoRaHS rain gauge she used to measure 34″ of rain in Florence.