With more than 600 new volunteers, Minnesota added more rainfall monitors during the annual March recruitment than any other state and again broke the national recruiting record for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.
This marks the fourth year in a row that the recruiting effort led by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota office of the National Weather Service has broken the national record and kept the “CoCoRaHS Cup” in Minnesota. Last year, 365 Minnesotans volunteered, and 270 the year before that.
The rain, snow and hail data gathered and reported by volunteers are not only important in tracking weather trends, potential for flood and drought, and 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 winners here are science and the governments, businesses and organizations who benefit from more reports from all over the state.”
These new CoCoRaHS observers join more than 1,000 other daily precipitation observers who volunteer as part of the state’s homegrown MnGage network, making Minnesota’s citizen 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 still 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.