February 21, 2020
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed March 1-7 as South Carolina Citizen Weather Observer Week, celebrating and recognizing the individuals that make up South Carolina's National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Observes (COOP), SKYWARN Spotters, and Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).
The climatological database generated through the efforts of volunteer observers, such as those who are a part of the COOP and the CoCoRaHS programs, stands as the cornerstone of our nation's weather history. The data provided is not only crucial for research, but is used by private industry, all levels of government, and individuals to make weather-related decisions across the country.
Melissa Griffin, the South Carolina Assistant State Climatologist and state coordinator for CoCoRaHS, stated, "Since record-keeping started in the mid- to late-1800s, we have been able to monitor the trends and variability of our state's climate thanks to their dedication."
Despite its increasing importance to the nation, it is a challenge to find volunteers to take weather observations for a short number of years, and rare to find someone, or a family, willing to volunteer their time for decades or even a century.
In all cases, these citizen weather observers have relayed critical information during extreme events, such as hurricanes, drought, severe and winter weather, that have facilitated quicker actions by state and federal entities to help protect life and property.
"We feel those who have volunteered to provide these services illustrate the testament to the character of the citizens of South Carolina and should be recognized for their efforts that benefit the state and the nation," said Dr. Hope Mizzell, South Carolina State Climatologist.
About COOP: It serves as the nationwide weather and climate monitoring network, comprised of volunteer citizens and institutions that observe and report weather information regularly. Currently, there are more than 80 volunteers that serve in this capacity across the state.
About CoCoRaHS: There are nearly 400 citizen-science weather observers that provide supplemental information on precipitation across the state as part of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network.
Each COOP and CoCoRaHS observer must operate their station with accuracy, promptness, legibility, cooperation, consistency, and care of equipment, without any compensation for their work.
There are also citizens of South Carolina who also obtain critical weather information through the NWS SKYWARN® program. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the NWS. This service helps enable NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods.
Media Contact: Kaley Lawrimore, Regional Public Information Coordinator