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Network: Volunteer Precipitation Obsevers Needed
Iowa Ag Connection - 03/17/2017

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's State Climatology Office and the National Weather Service are recruiting volunteer precipitation observers across Iowa to participate in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network, known as "CoCoRaHS" (pronounced "KO-ko-rozz").

Weather observers are needed everywhere but with the most critical needs are in Pocahontas, Worth, Wright, Allamakee, Bremer, Calhoun, Greene, Shelby, Audubon, Cedar, Adair, Adams, Decatur, Monroe, Louisa and Davis counties.

All that is needed to participate is an interest in the weather, a four inch diameter rain gage, a suitable location to set up the gage and access to the internet. All data collected is immediately available for free online and is routinely used for flood forecasting, drought assessment, news media stories, scientific research and general weather interest.

Much more information about the network is available on the CoCoRaHS web site at www.cocorahs.org. The website includes information on how to join, where to obtain your rain gage and how to accurately measure and report rain and snow. There is no cost involved in joining or participating in the CoCoRaHS network other than the need for the four inch diameter rain gage.

The network was established by the Colorado Climate Center in 1998 and has now spread to all fifty states and Canada. Iowa joined this volunteer network in 2007 and now has over 300 registered CoCoRaHS observers across the state. However, more observers are needed to better document the amount and variability of rain and snow across Iowa.

"In 2016 record rain fall occurred over parts of north central and northeast Iowa where annual precipitation totals approached five feet. Meanwhile, much of south central and southeast Iowa was unusually dry with Albia and Lake Rathbun recording their driest year since the major drought of 1988. This pattern of wet north and dry south has continued this winter with above normal snowfall over much of the north one-third of Iowa and very little snow across the south one-third of the state," said Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist for Iowa. "Whatever comes our way in 2017, the weather observations obtained by this network can be of great benefit in obtaining a clearer picture of Iowa's weather."

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