The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), a national network of volunteer rain monitors, recently added some important new spatial and historical rainfall data mapping products by watershed at the HUC 10 level.
You can then click on the Watershed Maps, enter you address or zip code, and access the subwatersheds in the vicinity of your address. You can then click on your target watershed, and that watershed will come up with its area in acres and square miles, and a button for precipitation reports.
Click on the precipitation reports, and a “Configure Precipitation Report” box pops up. Click the drop down arrow, and you can choose between Daily Precipitation and Monthly Precipitation.
Daily Precipitation provides the Average Precipitation in inches for the pervious 24 hours for that subwatershed, along with the number of CoCoRaHS stations in the subwatershed. This data can be very useful for monitoring large rain events that can impact stream flows, flooding, and drought.
Choose Monthly Precipitation, and you can then choose monthly accumulated precipitation in inches for any month going back to 1998, and get the number of stations for that month.
Help track climate trends for the LRWP!
Can you help the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership better understand climate trends? Let us know! We need a volunteer to extract historical rainfall data by month from CoCoRaHs data source and develop a monthly rainfall baseline so we can compare present and future monthly rainfall for climate trends analysis. We intend to eventually triangulate these data with our pathogens monitoring data.
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is looking for volunteer weather observers in the Raritan Basin. CoCoRaHS is a nationwide volunteer precipitation-observing network, with over 15,000 active observers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Bahamas, and the US Virgin Islands, including over 250 in New Jersey. The NJ program is run out of the Office of the NJ State Climatologist at Rutgers University. Working with the Rutgers Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, NJ CoCoRaHS is looking to enlist volunteers of all ages within the basin. Volunteers take a few minutes each day to report the amount of rain or snow that has fallen in their backyards. All that is required to participate is a 4″ diameter plastic rain gauge, a ruler to measure snow, a computer or cell phone, and most importantly, the desire to report weather conditions.
Observations from CoCoRaHS volunteers are widely used by scientists and agencies whose decisions depend on timely and high-quality precipitation data. For example, hydrologists and meteorologists use the data to warn about the potential impacts of flood and drought within the Raritan Basin.
“Weather matters to everybody –meteorologists, car and crop insurance companies, outdoor enthusiasts and homeowners,” according to CoCoRaHS founder and national director Nolan Doesken. “Precipitation is perhaps the most important, but also the most highly variable element of our climate.”
As Dave Robinson, NJ State Climatologist and NJ CoCoRaHS co-coordinator, notes, “The addition of new observers in your community will provide a detailed picture of rain and snowfall patterns to assist with critical weather-related decision making.”
“Rainfall amounts vary from one street to the next,” says Doesken. “It is wonderful having large numbers of enthusiastic volunteers and literally thousands of rain gauges to help track storms. We learn something new every day, and every volunteer makes a significant scientific contribution.”
CoCoRaHS volunteers are asked to read their rain gauge or measure any snowfall at the same time each day (preferably between 5 and 9 AM). Measurements are then entered by the observer on the CoCoRaHS website where they can be viewed in tables and maps. Training is provided for CoCoRaHS observers, either through online training modules, or preferably in group training sessions that are held at different locations around NJ.
“Anyone interested in signing up or learning more about the program can visit the CoCoRaHS website at http://www.cocorahs.org,” says Mathieu Gerbush, Assistant NJ State Climatologist and program co-coordinator. “We’re looking forward to welcoming new volunteers into the NJ CoCoRaHS program.”
For more information, contact the NJ CoCoRaHS state coordinators: