State looking for volunteer weather watchers
Posted April 12, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — It's time for teacher Denise Simpson's fourth-grade class at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh to check the rain gauge.
Luke Law measures .21 inch and enters the data into a computer with the help of classmate Christina Oelhafen.
It has been a daily ritual in Simpson's class for three years.
“It's really exciting, because it's a hands-on science activity,” Simpson said.
The class is part of a program called CoCoRaHS – the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network – a group of volunteer weather observers that are a big help to forecasters.
Heather Dinon Aldridge of the State Climate Office of North Carolina said scientists use the data collected by the volunteers to validate their forecasts and paint a more precise picture of precipitation.
Without the volunteers' reports, she said, climatology maps would have observations only from official weather stations.
The state is always looking for more volunteers.
“We're down to about 300 every day, so we really need some help,” Dinon Aldridge said.
Volunteers can sign up online, buy a $30 rain gauge and put it in the yard. Then, start filing reports.
It’s something that Simpson's students look forward to every day.
“Any hands-on that you can add to the science, it brings it to life,” she said. “It really broadens their horizon.”