INDIAN BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s 7 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and Victor Heinrich of Indian Beach is checking his rain gauge. He’s part of a network of volunteers that does the same every day.
“CoCoRaHS, it does sound like a cereal one might eat in the morning, but it stands for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network,” explained David Glenn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport.
“I’ve been doing this for about 3 years,” added Victor Heinrich, a CoCoRaHS volunteer.
Heinrich and thousands of others across the country report rain, snow, and hail once a day to the National Weather Service. These reports are a vital piece of the weather puzzle.
“It really helps fill in the gaps between our automated stations,” explained Glenn. “Multiple users use it, not just us here at the National Weather Service but folks like the shellfish sanitation and water quality, mosquito control.”
Getting started with CoCoRaHS is easy. Sign up on their website and once you receive your official rain gauge set it up, and start sending in your daily measurements.
“This is something that anybody can do,” said Heinrich.
“It’s really important to recruit new observers,” added Glenn.
So the National Weather Service has made a competition out of it.
“We call it CoCoRaHS March Madness,” explained Glenn.
And like the NCAA March Madness, there is some hardware involved.
“We’ve won what we call the CoCoRaHS March Madness, our little trophy, 4 out of the last 6 years,” said Glenn.
North Carolina was edged out by Arizona in 2016 Glenn hopes to bring the cup back to the Tarheel state in 2017.
Click here to sign up for CoCoRaHS.