Wednesday, 17 January 2007
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS): Timely Volunteer Precipitation Monitoring
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is a community-based, education-focused high density network of individual and family volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, who take daily measurements of rain, hail and snow at their homes, schools and businesses. Precipitation is measured using low-cost high capacity 4" diameter plastic rain gauges and Styrofoam wrapped in aluminum foil "hail pads". Thanks to the "low-tech/low-cost" approach, thousands of volunteers can afford to participate, giving the end user a large collection of data points that fill in gaps in many existing networks and data sets. Where feasible, CoCoRaHS is striving to achieve a station density approaching one observation per km-squared providing exceptional detail on cumulative storm precipitation over populated areas. These observations are collected and made available on the CoCoRaHS website: www.cocorahs.org in map and table format.
The data are already being used daily by federal, state and community organizations and businesses for many resource management and hydrologic monitoring and predication applications. CoCoRaHS "Intense Rain Reports" and "Hail Reports" are used in "real time" by the National Weather Service in the issuing of flash flood warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings. While only providing once-daily and occasional event reports, CoCoRaHS does provide excellent observational consistency and accuracy including snowfall, depth and water content measurements, as well as the only comprehensive hail data currently being gathered in the U.S. The CoCoRaHS network currently engages over 2,500+ volunteer observers in communities across twelve states, and the network continues to grow.