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March 1, 2008

Weather observers wanted in South Carolina

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ State Climatology Office and the National Weather Service are looking for more than 1,000 volunteers scattered across the state to measure and report the rain, snow, sleet or hail that falls on their homes, farms, or businesses. Starting March 1, South Carolina will join 28 other states currently using a network of community volunteers to measure precipitation.  The project’s official name is the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network or CoCoRaHS for short. 

How does one become a CoCoRaHS observer?  Go to the CoCoRaHS website and click on the "Join CoCoRaHS" emblem on the upper right side of the main website.  After registering, all CoCoRaHS observers take a short on-line training course and may begin to report. Your rainfall observations will become part of the volunteer nation-wide record and be plotted on maps of your county and state. You may view these maps and see how your observation compares with other CoCoRaHS observers across South Carolina. 

"This is a chance for people who have an interest in weather to be part of a project that collects valuable weather and climate data," said Hope Mizzell, South Carolina’s State Climatologist.  "Many counties have such sparse coverage that major storms can pass by, but miss the few gauges in the area. Summer thunderstorms can dump more than three inches of rain in some areas, while areas just a few miles away receive little or no rainfall. If we want to learn more about rainstorms we need dozens of gauges in each county. DNR’s State Climatology Office would like for South Carolina to have more than 1,000 committed, long-term volunteers with rain gauges in every part of the state."

Everyone can help - young and old and in between. Here are the basic requirements for being a CoCoRaHS weather observer:

What are the benefits of being a CoCoRaHS observer? Well, we don’t offer a paycheck, but participating in the CoCoRaHS network will make an important contribution that helps others, especially during times of drought. Your daily precipitation data will assist in filling in a piece of the climate puzzle that affects all South Carolinians. CoCoRaHS also is a great way to learn more about weather while collecting valuable rainfall data.

If you have any questions, contact the local coordinator for your region or the SC State Climate Office at 803-734-9100. 

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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