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Madison citizen scientists who don’t mind a little rain wanted

Professional weather people could use a couple minutes of your time.

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The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network monitors precipitation. | Photo by 608today

Take a rain check, literally.

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is seeking local citizens to act as scientists and measure precipitation totals.

Anyone can do it, it takes only a few minutes of one’s time, and can help natural resource, education, and research professionals. Here’s how it works.


CoCoRaHS is a national network of volunteers who measure precipitation at their homes and record their observations into a national database.

Participants provide a detailed spatial pattern of precipitation across the country to better diagnose drought conditions, flooding concerns, and soil moisture for growers.

“I value this data so that we better understand where precipitation has fallen, how extensive and thick the snowpack is, and current drought conditions across Wisconsin,” Wisconsin State climatologist Steve Vavrus said.

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Observations made by CoCoRaHS volunteers helps weather professionals in a variety of ways. | Photo via City of Madison


Volunteer observers simply measure and record the precipitation collected in their gauge every day and enter it onto the CoCoRaHS database for mapping and processing. It takes two minutes.

“CoCoRaHS observations are one of the most important pieces of data I use for assessing how much precipitation fell, and I look at it every day,” Milwaukee National Weather Service senior service hydrologist Sarah Marquardt said.


Weather affects us all. “Your report of heavy rain as it’s falling may help us get that flash flood warning out to the public sooner, allowing people more time to move away from rising rivers, flooding roadways and to seek higher ground,” Marquardt said.

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Volunteers can measure the amount of snowfall and enter it into a national database. | Photo by 608today


Anyone, anywhere can participate. Marquardt mentioned that Madison, and the surrounding area (including Mount Horeb, Stoughton, and Marshall) could use more observers.


Fill out an application and get a standardized rain gauge. Weather you want one or not, maybe have a good umbrella handy.