Minnesota added more rainfall monitoring volunteers during the annual March recruitment than any other state and set a new national recruiting record for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).
The recruiting effort led by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota office of the National Weather Service resulted in 365 new volunteers and brought the “CoCoRaHS Cup” to Minnesota for the third year in a row. Minnesota broke the previous record last year as well by recruiting 270 new volunteers.
The rain, snow and hail data gathered and reported by volunteers are not only important in tracking weather trends and the effects of climate change, but they also serve anyone who needs daily local area precipitation reports for any purpose.
“We’re so grateful to our national record number of volunteers in Minnesota,” State Climatologist Luigi Romolo said. “While it’s fun to win cups and set records, the real winner here is science. The data from these new recruits will go a long way to help our day-to-day operations.”
The new observers join more than 1,000 other daily precipitation observers who volunteer as part of the state’s MnGage network, making Minnesota’s resident precipitation observing program the most comprehensive in the country.
While the big annual recruiting push is in March, the State Climatology Office is always seeking more volunteer rainfall monitors. The national CoCoRaHS network includes more than 20,000 volunteers nationwide who measure precipitation in their backyards using a standard 4-inch-diameter rain gauge.
Even with so many observers, more are needed to help fill gaps outside the immediate Twin Cities metro area. Volunteers receive online training on how to observe the weather and how to submit their precipitation and weather event reports. They also must purchase or provide a standard 4-inch-diameter rain gauge (available at discount through CoCoRaHS) and have internet access to submit reports.