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Who Uses CoCoRaHS Observations?
YES, IT REALLY IS TRUE! Your observations are used every day!
Almost daily someone asks the question, "who cares about and who uses the observations from CoCoRaHS volunteers?” It must be hard to fathom that precipitation data is so useful and that backyard rain gauges have a place of importance in national and global climate monitoring in the 21st Century. But the fact is, it’s true. Your rainfall reports -- including your reports of zero precipitation – are very valuable and are being used EVERY DAY. Every morning many organizations pull data from the CoCoRaHS database at least every hour to get all the latest reports as they come in. They wish all CoCoRaHS observers submitted their reports right away.
When you see forecasts of river stages and flood levels on the Missouri, the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Colorado River or most anywhere else in the country -- guess what data are helping the forecasters make these forecasts? Yes, timely CoCoRaHS data!
Your reports of hail or heavy rain may trigger the NWS to issue severe thunderstorm or flash flood warnings. In cases of extreme localized storms, your local report could help save lives.
Don’t let all this “importance” frighten you. The weight is not all on observers shoulders. The real value comes from having thousands of volunteers reporting from all over. So keep up the good work, and go out and find more weather enthusiasts to help measure, map and track the amazingly variable patterns of precipitation.
A key reason that CoCoRaHS data are so useful is because the rain gauge used by CoCoRaHS volunteers – the 4-inch diameter, 11.30” capacity clear plastic rain gauge is very good. Under most circumstances, this type of gauge performs as well as the official National Weather Service Standard Rain Gauge that has been used for over 120 years documenting our nation’s climate. Most CoCoRaHS volunteers have found representative locations to mount their gauge to get very high quality readings. The CoCoRaHS gauge, if installed and used properly, provides very accurate readings. CoCoRaHS volunteers tend to be very interested and very committed to careful and high-quality observations. As a result, the data are usually excellent for a wide range of uses.
Please visit our WHO USES COCORAHS OBSERVATIONS? page to learn more about how your observations are used. Thanks for your very, very useful observations!