Weather Watchers Needed to Help Observe Rain, Hail, and Snow, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release January 17, 2007
Weather Watchers Needed to Help Observe Rain, Hail, and Snow
Steve Hilberg - (217) 333-8495, Fax: (217) 244-0220,
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540,

Weather affects all of us and can vary greatly even over short distances. In an effort to increase the density of rainfall observations over the United States, a fast-growing, volunteer program needs weather observers in Illinois.

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network already has more than 2500 observers in 14 states and originally began in Colorado. Program coordinators for Illinois include the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), the National Weather Service, and the University of Illinois Extension Natural Resources Management team.

"This project benefits the entire state. Anyone can help, regardless of age or education," said Steve Hilberg, ISWS meteorologist and CoCoRaHS co-coordinator for Illinois.

The nonprofit CoCoRaHS network stresses training and education. The National Science Foundation and other contributors provide funding. CoCoRaHS volunteers are backyard weather observers of all ages, working together to measure and map local precipitation as rain, hail, and snow.

Volunteers use low-cost measurement tools and an interactive Web site to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education, and research applications. Data users include organizations and individuals. Climatologists, hydrologists, water managers, and the National Weather Service use these data to monitor drought, heavy rainfall, and precipitation patterns.

"The only requirements for observers are an enthusiasm for watching and reporting weather conditions, and a desire to learn more about weather impacts on our lives. Participation takes just a few minutes a day," adds Hilberg.

Training is required, and local training sessions teach new CoCoRaHS observers how to install their instruments and measure precipitation. A workshop will be held at the ISWS in Champaign at 7:00 p.m. on February 1. The ISWS at 2204 Griffith Drive is located near the intersection of First Street and Windsor Road.

There is no charge, but you must pre-register. Call 217-333-8495 or register by e-mail (

Additional training is scheduled on February 3 in Lincoln, February 13 in Morton, and February 26 in St. Charles. For more details about the network or schedules, visit   A related story also is available.

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