Mar 13, 2024

CAMPBELL: Join the CoCoRaHS Network...because every drop counts

Posted Mar 13, 2024 8:00 PM
written by: Stacy Campbell - Cottonwood Extension District
written by: Stacy Campbell - Cottonwood Extension District

March Madness is upon us! While some people's thoughts turn towards basketball, brackets, and buzzer-beaters, we in the weather community have our own March Madness event: a challenge amongst US states to sign up as many new observers as possible for a program known as CoCoRaHS. CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network, is a citizen-based project in which observers measure precipitation at their home or business using a standard, high-quality rain gauge and report their daily totals each morning via the project’s web site or through the CoCoRaHS app. CoCoRaHS aims to accurately determine where and how much precipitation falls across North America. CoCoRaHS began in 1998 at Colorado State University. Kansas was the third state to join back in 2004. 2023 marked the 25th anniversary of the project.

CoCoRaHS in Kansas is grateful for all of the observers, but they still need more help to improve the coverage of the entire state. Despite a count that averages out to 8 observers per county, there are five counties in Kansas with no active observers: Greeley, Haskell, Linn, Morton, and Woodson. There are 27 more counties with three or fewer observers. Why is statewide coverage so important? The Kansas Climate Office uses precipitation reports (rain, snow, and ice) to assess drought conditions across Kansas. Without reports, they have no idea exactly how much rain fell or exactly where it fell and where it didn’t, which makes it more difficult to determine drought status properly. They occasionally hear from people who point out that the weekly US Drought Monitor map, which that office contributes weekly, doesn’t accurately reflect conditions at their location. They often have no reported rainfall, or lack thereof, from their location. They are only as good as the data they receive!

Join CoCoRaHS the Kansas Climate Office hopes you’ll consider joining CoCoRaHS: visit to learn more about the project and to become an observer. Help the to track the weather across Kansas; join CoCoRaHS today!

Stacy Campbell is a Crop Production Extension agent in the Cottonwood District (which includes Barton and Ellis counties) for K-State Research and Extension. You can contact him by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling 785-628-9430.