The National Weather Service in Duluth seeks new observers of rain, hail and snow as part of a nationwide recruitment drive.
CoCoRaHS is the Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation and many others. As part of a network of over 20,000 private citizens, volunteers measure rain, snow, and hail each day using the CoCoRaHS website or smartphone app. These reports are shared via the Internet and are used by many agencies, including the National Weather Service.
During the month of March, CoCoRaHS holds a friendly recruiting contest between all 50 states to see who can recruit the most new volunteers. Minnesota has recently taken the lead with 55 new observers, just barely edging out the perennial winner, North Carolina.
Volunteers are required to purchase a standard rain gauge, which ensures reports from across the country can be compared equally. Volunteers can report daily or only on days when they are able to take measurements. CoCoRaHS observers can also send real-time severe weather reports to the National Weather Service including hail size, flooding, storm damage and heavy rainfall, which greatly assist meteorologists in determining the impact of storms on local communities.