Like measuring the rain, hail, and snow? Report volunteers needed

Nov 6, 2023, 9:42 AM | Updated: 2:37 pm


Hail fails on vehicles during a storm. (AP)


Calling all weather nerds! More volunteers are needed to measure rain, hail and snow precipitation from their backyard.

A program called CoCoRaHS, or Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, is where volunteers work together to measure precipitation across the nation. The program started in 1999 in Colorado and has spread to all 50 states, Canada, and a number of U.S. territories, and, today, has over 20,000 volunteers reporting daily precipitation.

November is usually the wettest month of the year, and winter is just around the corner. Fall is also the second primary time of year for thunderstorms, as witnessed this weekend Saturday. Spring is the No. 1 time of year for thunderstorms producing hail. More volunteers are needed to measure these three kinds of precipitation to add finer detail across the region.

More from Ted Buehner: November is the wettest month of them all in western Washington

Precipitation amounts vary widely across Western Washington thanks to the complex topography, including the Olympic Mountains and its rain shadow, the Puget Sound, the Cascades, and even phenomena like the Puget Sound Convergence Zone.

As is often said, the devil is in the details, and more CoCoRaHS volunteers offering backyard measurements of rain, snow and hail reveal those details. For instance, when rain falls instead of snow, the amounts from one location to another are often vastly and visibly different.

Becoming involved as a CoCoRaHS volunteer is simple. Visit for all the details. Registration takes only a few minutes online. Several options to obtain a 4-inch rain gauge are offered for less than $50, including shipping.

The organization’s website also offers easy training, including where to site your rain gauge, how to properly measure snow and hail, how to report your daily precipitation and more. And if you are out of town for a period of time, there are multiday reports as well.

Even more from Ted: Historic 1962 wind storm was the strongest in US history; another could occur

A number of organizations use CoCoRaHS reports. These groups include the National Weather Service, your county or city emergency management office, public works and transportation responders like snow plow operators, area TV weather anchors, the University of Washington, the Washington State climatologist, engineers, insurance groups, and many more. CoCoRaHS information is of great interest on a daily, monthly, and year-round basis.

Precipitation reports are shared locally and nationwide on CoCoRaHS is a fine way to contribute to your community.

Relatives and friends can compare precipitation measurements. CoCoRaHS is also a great school project.

Perhaps you will become cuckoo for CoCoRaHS — because every drop counts.

Ted Buehner is the KIRO Newsradio meteorologist. You can read more of Ted’s stories here and follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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Like measuring the rain, hail, and snow? Report volunteers needed