Nov/Dec 2013Earth and Water, Wind and Sun: Cold Rain and Snowby David Lucas

"CoCoRaHS" Volunteers Monitor Precipitation in All Seasons

When rain or other precipitation falls across the Palmetto State (or when it doesn't), a dedicated network of volunteers provides observations about what's happening in their own backyards that give State Climatology Office staff a more accurate picture of prevailing conditions than simply relying on what's provided by official government monitoring stations. These citizen-scientists are part of the "CoCoRaHS" network, which stands for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network.

Precipitation is highly variable and requires a large number of gauges across every county for accurate measurement. Isolated summer thundershowers, for instance, can pass between widely-spaced official monitoring stations without any recorded measurement. If you are interested in providing daily precipitation measurements that will help fill in a piece of the climate puzzle that affects all South Carolinians, go to the CoCoRaHS website ( and click on the "Join CoCoRaHS" emblem on the main page. After registering, you will need to purchase the required rain gauge and take a short on-line training course. After receiving your station identification and login information, you may begin reporting. Your rainfall observations will become part of the volunteer nation-wide record and will be plotted on maps of your county and state. You can view these maps and see how your observations compare with those of other CoCoRaHS observers across South Carolina. If you have questions contact Hope Mizzell, state coordinator for South Carolina at


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