The National Weather Service needs more Charlotte-area volunteers to monitor rain, hail and snowfall amounts in their yards.
Volunteers in the weather service’s Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network make daily weather observations using a simple rain gauge.
The weather service started North Carolina’s network in 2007 to better understand local weather and climate patterns, said NWS meteorologist David Glenn, who coordinates the program in the state.
By 2010, the weather service had volunteers in all 50 states, with nearly 10,000 observations being reported each day, Glenn said.
North Carolina has one of the most complex climates in the United States, said Ryan Boyles, state climatologist and director of the State Climate Office based at N.C. State University.
That’s why daily observations from volunteers are so important, he said.
Volunteers can obtain an official rain gauge through the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network website for about $30 plus shipping.
Besides the need for an official 4-inch plastic rain gauge, volunteers must take a simple training course online and use the website to submit their reports. Observations are immediately available on maps and reports for public view.
It all takes five minutes a day, “but the impact to the community is tenfold,” Glenn said.
“By providing high quality, accurate measurements, the observers are able to supplement existing networks and provide useful results to scientists, resource managers, decision makers and other users,” he said.
Timely reports also help NWS forecasters issue and verify warnings for severe thunderstorms, he said.