KOSCIUSKO — Indiana residents know that heavy snow can shut down roads, schools and businesses in the winter while heavy rainfall can lead to devastating flooding during any part of the year.
Volunteer precipitation observers are critical in measuring and reporting daily precipitation which in turn helps meteorologists and emergency managers protect lives and property from these dangerous weather elements. Kosciusko and surrounding counties are in need of new volunteer precipitation observers to take daily measurements and help keep local communities safe from future devastating precipitation events.
The National Weather Service and the Kosciusko County Master Naturalists will hold a training session for enthusiastic people of all ages to expand a national network of volunteer citizen science precipitation observers called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, simply known as CoCoRaHS. This training session has been scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15, in the lower level of the Kosciusko County Community Building, 102 E. Market St., Warsaw.
Training will begin at 7 p.m. and will last approximately 90 minutes. Volunteer observers will learn how to accurately measure and report rain and snow via the Internet. There is no cost for the training but all observers will need to purchase their own standardized four-inch diameter rain gauge through online vendors if they decide to participate. Observers in this program are required to use the same type of rain gauge for consistent and accurate observations.
CoCoRaHS is a nationwide program, located online at http://www.cocorahs.org, which offers an opportunity for anyone young or old to become a volunteer observer of rain, snow and hail. Data collected by volunteers help local, state and national organizations improve weather forecasts, warnings and response efforts, ultimately helping save lives.
Local television, radio and newspaper outlets can use the volunteer reports to share information from rural and small communities as well as larger cities. Climatologists study the data and look for changing weather patterns and historical trends. Even the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, uses CoCoRaHS reports to help determine if a county may qualify for federal funding after a severe storm. Your observations can help while also becoming a significant contribution to the official climate record of Indiana.
CoCoRaHS came to Indiana in February 2006 and has over 500 active observers of all ages from across the Hoosier state. Indiana was one of the first states in the Midwest to join this international network which consists of over 20,000 volunteers. CoCoRaHS is a volunteer, grassroots network dedicated to the monitoring of precious water resources. Organizations involved in agriculture, public safety, and natural resources management will find great benefit from this data, available free of charge to anyone through the CoCoRaHS network website.
CoCoRaHS represents an important new way to monitor rainfall and snowfall trends, which can significantly impact lives.
“CoCoRaHS helps meteorologists, emergency managers and the local media understand where the most significant impacts from heavy snow or rain are occurring,” said Sam Lashley, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service and CoCoRaHS coordinator. “Forecasts, warnings and emergency response efforts can quickly be adjusted to focus on those areas experiencing the worst weather. We saw this firsthand during the heavy snow and rain events this past winter.”
Attendance at this training is free and pre-registration is required due to limited space. To register, please email [email protected] or call the NWS office at (574) 834-1104.