Weather Observers Needed in Lee and Surrounding Counties, Class now Begins at 9 AM

LEE COUNTY (WIFR) -- Weather in northern Illinois can vary greatly, and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) volunteer weather program is looking for weather observers to measure precipitation from their own backyards across Lee and surrounding counties.

The requirements for participation are an enthusiasm for watching and reporting weather conditions. The (CoCoRaHS) network is a grassroots national program of backyard weather observers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail, and snow) in their local communities.

High-quality observations made by CoCoRaHS volunteers are used by a wide variety of organizations and individuals, including the National Weather Service (NWS), other meteorologists, hydrologists, emergency managers, city utilities (for issues related to water supply, conservation, and stormwater), insurance adjusters, U.S. Department of Agriculture, engineers, mosquito-control specialists, farmers, outdoor and recreational interests, teachers, students, and neighbors in the community.

“Most of us are aware that rainfall can be highly variable not only from county to county but even within individual communities,” says Bill Morris, Illinois Regional Coordinator for CoCoRaHS. “The more rainfall observers we have, the better we can determine the amount and extent of precipitation in Illinois. CoCoRaHS observers are a valuable supplement to the daily weather observations by NWS observers. For example, CoCoRaHS rain and snow reports from Lee County are used in forecasting river levels on the Rock River,” adds Morris.

An information and training session for anyone interested in participating in this program will be held on Saturday, March 24 at 9 AM at the Public Safety Building in Dixon, IL located at 220 S Hennepin Ave. There is no charge for the training session but registration is required. To register for this session, contact Bill Morris, IL Regional CoCoRaHS Coordinator at 815-834-0600 x493 or via email at William.morris@noaa.gov. Please be sure and leave your name and phone number. Learn more about the program at the CoCoRaHS Web site http://www.cocorahs.org.

CoCoRaHS, a nonprofit organization, is supported by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other contributors. CoCoRaHS in Illinois is coordinated by the Illinois State Water Survey, the National Weather Service, and the University of Illinois Extension Natural Resources Management Team.

Observers are required to purchase and use the CoCoRaHS standard four-inch diameter rain gauge to measure precipitation. Cost of the rain gauge is approximately $25.00. Internet access is required to enter the reports.

For questions, contact Kevin Lalley at 815-284-3365, or esda@countyoflee.org, or Bill Morris at the National Weather Service at 815-834-060 x 493 or via email at William.morris@noaa.gov.


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