Three Cheers for CoCoRaHS!
Rain or shine, Galen Crowder and Anna Decker report precipitation stats from their homes in Castle Pines North for the CoCoRaHS.
Article and photo by Terri Wiebold
No, CoCoRaHS is not a local cheerleading squad, but the function they serve in the Castle Pines North community is certainly worth shouting about.
CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow).
CPN residents Galen Crowder and Anna Necker are two such volunteers. Crowder lives in HOA1 and Necker lives in Whisper Canyon; both have been tracking precipitation levels in CPN for several years.
“I am sort of a weather wonk,” said Necker. “I’ve always enjoyed watching the effect weather has on my plants and gardening; the weather patterns back east where I grew up were so different than here.” Necker has been tracking weather stats in CPN for about four years and says she enjoys that she has a specific way to put her interest in weather to use.
Crowder began tracking stats in November 2001. He said he has never missed a day of reporting since he started, and he just gets a kick out of it. “The fun part for me is that it is personally satisfying to know what the precipitation levels in the area are from a water conservation standpoint,” he said. “I adjust my watering times accordingly – based on the data.”
How Does It Work?
Each time a rain, hail or snowstorm crosses the CPN community, volunteers take measurements of precipitation from multiple locations. These precipitation reports are then recorded on the CoCoRaHS website and then displayed and organized for users to analyze and apply to daily situations – things ranging from water resource analysis and severe storm warnings, to neighbors comparing how much rain fell in their backyards.
“It is interesting to me that one part of a community might be getting rain when other parts can remain completely dry,” said CoCoRaHS founder and Colorado state climatologist, Nolan Doesken. “There are always such wild and interesting weather patterns in this state.”
The CoCoRaHS network originated with the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in 1998. In the ten years since its inception, CoCoRaHS has expanded to more than 11,000 observers in thirty-six states and is used by a wide variety of organizations and individuals, including the National Weather Service.
To learn more about CoCORaHS or to volunteer for the organization, please visit www.cocorahs.com.