Become a Weather Watcher

CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers who measure precipitation in their own backyards. There are volunteers in every state who collect and report data, providing scientists with important data that supplements that which comes from existing weather stations. By participating in CoCoRaHS you also learn firsthand about your own local weather patterns.

As we all know, rainfall patterns can be quite variable. It may rain hard at one location and be completely dry only a few miles away. With more data coming from many locations, scientists can develop better precipitation maps and over the long term, better forecasting.

In Oregon, CoCoRaHS is coordinated by the Oregon Climate Service which is housed in Corvallis at OSU. According to the Oregon Climate Service, more CoCoRaHS volunteers are needed in rural areas, especially in areas with elevation changes. Currently there are only a few active stations in Columbia County. The OSU Extension Service has had a rain gauge set up at our office since last December and it has been fun and educational. Their record rainfall since then has been 1.52 inches on December 20th!

It is easy to participate in CoCoRaHS. All that is needed is a rain gauge (you must purchase and use the CoCoRaHS-approved gauge), a place to set it up, a willingness to check your gauge daily (or as frequently as possible), and a computer so that you can log in and record your data.

OSU Extension encourages theirr volunteers in rural Columbia County – Master Gardeners, Master Woodland Managers, and 4-H clubs – to get involved in CoCoRaHS. This April, they will be putting on several sessions where you can purchase the rain gauge, learn how to set it up and read it, and how to record your data with CoCoRaHS. The cost of the gauge is $26; because they are able to order them in bulk, this is about 25% cheaper than if you were to purchase one on your own.

To register for one of the following sessions, please call Vicki at the Extension office, 503-397-3462. Pre-registration by March 27th is important so that they know how many rain gauges to order. If you would like to order a gauge but are unable to attend a training session, please call the office.

Monday, April 8th, 10 am – noon – St. Helens (Columbia County Extension Office)

Wednesday, April 10th, 10 am – noon – Vernonia Community Learning Center, 939 Bridge St.

Thursday, April 11th, 10 am – noon – Clatskanie (Clatskanie PUD, 495 E. Columbia River Hwy)

To learn more about CoCoRaHS, go to the website:  http://www.cocorahs.org