Weather observation network seeks new volunteers in Oklahoma
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A grassroots weather observation network needs more volunteers to measure precipitation in an effort that could benefit farmers and emergency management officials, organizers said.
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network wants to build on its tally of 18 volunteers in Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reported.
Scientists in Colorado launched the volunteer network in 1998 following a disastrous flash flood in Fort Collins. In July 1997, a thunderstorm produced nearly a foot of rain within a few hours in some parts of the city and the subsequent flooding caught some by surprise. The initiative was developed to better examine localized extreme precipitation.
Charles Kuster, a volunteer with the network, said more people are needed to take daily measurements to fill some “pretty big” data gaps in parts of the state.
“We have a lot of thunderstorms in Oklahoma and rainfall changes pretty dramatically across very small distances,” said Kuster, a research associate at the University of Oklahoma’s National Weather Center in Norman. “We really just need as many people as possible to measure those changes.”
The state already has the Oklahoma Mesonet , providing a statewide network of weather-monitoring stations in every county, but it is limited, Kuster said.
“The Mesonet is a great resource,” he said. “The biggest limitation is there’s about one of those stations in every county. Precipitation can vary greatly. The CoCoRaHS observers can help fill in the gaps between those stations.”
Volunteers only need a rain gauge and a willingness to post daily recordings of any rain, snow or hail.
“Most days are zero, so that’s easy,” Kuster said. “Most of time, it’s only a couple of minutes to do it.”
A variety of organizations and individuals use data produced by the network, including meteorologists and hydrologists, emergency planners, ranchers and farmers. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — the parent agency of the National Weather Service — and the National Science Foundation sponsor the project.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com