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CoCoRaHS -- A cold winter morning

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  • nolan
    Good morning. First, a big welcome to all of you who have joined CoCoRaHS in the past few weeks to help measure and report rain, sleet, hail and snow. Things
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 8, 2010
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      Good morning.

      First, a big welcome to all of you who have joined CoCoRaHS in the past
      few weeks to help measure and report rain, sleet, hail and snow. Things
      are a little slow this time of year, and not too many people are signing
      up, but we are still seeing about 10 new CoCoRaHS applications each day
      from across the country. We're sure glad to have you. Welcome to the
      team. If you have questions about getting started, please ask.


      Deep Winter

      Looking at our thermometer this morning here in northern Colorado, it's
      a nippy -14F (-25 C) and still dropping. It's both beautiful and
      dreadful when it gets this cold. Our horses, chickens and geese are
      still doing well but it must wear on them. Our heated stock tank has
      been leaking so we have a small glacier out in the corral. Sanding the
      corral to keep the horses upright seems a bit odd. Each of our horses
      has a beard of white frost. We're lucky to get one fresh egg a day and
      we need to collect the eggs quickly before they freeze. But I'm toasty.
      I got a lovely new pair of insulated coveralls for Christmas. If they
      wear as well as my old ones, I should be good now for another 25 years.

      We're not the only ones that are cold. The Dakotas are crazy cold.
      It's been subfreezing in the Ohio Valley for many straight days. Those
      of you down by the Gulf Coast are probably the coldest of all since
      you're not used to 18 degree F weather. This is the time of year for
      this, though. The weeks just following the winter solstice are often
      the coldest of the year, so we're on schedule. We can also be assured
      that brighter warmer days are soon ahead -- and then come the storms
      of spring. Hang on! The cycle continues.


      Snow on snow

      I almost feel sorry for all of you in the Midwest, the northern plains,
      the Great Lakes and New England. I know it's a normal part of life --
      cold, snow and wind -- and it's a fine combination that makes you
      strong, healthy and full of good stories to tell. But still . . . .
      The snow just hasn't had any chance to melt, and new snows have been
      accumulating on the old. Then the wind comes and rearranges it all.
      This is the weather observer's nightmare. But still hundreds of you go
      out each morning -- in the dark -- to try to measure the stuff. Hats
      off to you!!! (Actually, you better keep your hat on). The snow is
      more than a foot deep now in many places. Most of South Dakota and Iowa
      have deep snow with over 20" in several parts of Iowa. There is still
      some snow left from the Oklahoma blizzard, and western North Carolina
      still has snow left from the big mid December storm. Ours here in Fort
      Collins is only about 6" deep on the level, but with 1.00" of water
      content (Snow Water Equivalent) it won't be melting any time soon.

      Do remember to report your average depth of total snow on the ground
      each day, even if there has not been new snowfall. Tracking national
      snowcover patterns is very helpful for weather forecasting and climate
      monitoring and prediction. When the snow is very uneven, an estimated
      average may be the best you can do.


      Fund Raising Update -- Five for CoCoRaHS!

      I am pleased -- no, I think "thrilled" would be a better word" -- to
      report that since our "Five for CoCoRaHS" campaign was launched December
      18, over 1000 CoCoRaHS volunteers have sent in donations. Some of your
      employees have even sent in matching gifts. Over $20,000 has been
      collected to help maintain and grow CoCoRaHS in 2010. This is a huge
      help to the project as we start a new year, and should help us leverage
      support from other larger organizations that use, appreciate and rely on
      the fantastic weather data you are helping gather each day. Nearly 10%
      of our active CoCoRaHS participants have helped out financially in the
      past 3 weeks. Considering that most of the donations were $5, this is
      indeed an impressive showing of support and demonstrates again how a
      team effort can have a huge impact.

      There are still three weeks left in the campaign. If you were thinking
      about sending in a donation to support CoCoRaHS, there is still time and
      it's very easy. Just go to
      http://www.cocorahs.org/Content.aspx?page=donate5 and click the
      appropriate button at the bottom of the page. If you would like to give
      a little more and get a CoCoRaHS t-shirt or sweatshirt, you'll see those
      options are also available. If you would prefer to mail in a check, the
      information you need is at the bottom of the donation form.

      And if you don't or can't help in this way, that's fine. You are
      already sharing some of your own personal time to help measure and
      report precipitation across the country. Your gift of time is the
      greatest gift of all.

      I'll let you know if we reach $30,000.


      9000 reports

      Speaking of reaching goals, remember when we were shooting for 9000
      daily reports back in September? I was recently looking back at the
      "Rainy Days" report and discovered that when all the late reports came
      in this fall, we eventually did reach 9000. On September 22 we
      received 9012 daily precipitation reports and on September 23rd we had
      9003. We did it -- a new CoCoRaHS record! Thanks!

      We'll wait for winter to pass, but some time this spring or early
      summer, let's try for 10,000. That will be a real milestone.


      National Western Stock Show

      Our presentation on the weather and climate of Colorado is scheduled for
      Tuesday, January 12th at 3 PM at the Beef Palace Auction Arena located
      on the lower level of the Hall of Education, near the NW Club entrance
      in Denver, Colorado. Perhaps I'll see a few of you there.


      WeatherFest -- Atlanta

      The American Meteorological Society's Annual Meeting brings together
      thousands of weather professionals from across the country and around
      the world. This year, the AMS 90th annual meeting is in Atlanta, GA
      starting in just over a week. The conference kicks off on Sunday,
      January 17th at the Georgia World Congress Center with WeatherFest 2010
      -- an educational event for anyone (kids and adults) interested in
      weather stuff. Here is the link to the specific details. It runs from
      noon to 4 PM..

      http://www.ametsoc.org/MEET/ANNUAL/weatherfest.html

      CoCoRaHS will be there!! Thanks to a generous donation from HDR (a
      nationwide engineering and consulting firm http://hdrinc.com/)
      we will have a "squeeze the water out of the cloud" display and
      competition to see who can collect the most rain in a CoCoRaHS rain
      gauge. It should be a lot of fun. If you or people you know will be in
      or near Atlanta on Sunday, January 17th, please come by and see us!


      Another Goodbye

      Last week I got the word that one of our dedicated observers from the
      Texas panhandle died suddenly from a heart attack a few days after
      Christmas. Dang it, I'm so sorry. He wrote us letters of encouragement
      as often as he could the last several years and provided great comments
      on severe weather, Texas drought, and on animal and human behavior.
      We're a little poorer today with his passing.

      This has become a natural part of CoCoRaHS that we somehow never planned
      or prepared for when we started the project. -- losing good friends
      and fellow weather enthusiasts. But with our community of over 10,000
      volunteers, many of whom are 65 or older, the actuarial charts tell us
      this will happen. While it stings, I still appreciate hearing back, so
      if you know of fellow volunteers who are ailing or have passed on, do
      let me know.


      Sunrise

      It's now 6:40 AM and it's still dark. But looking at the sunrise -
      sunset calendar it looks like starting tomorrow the morning light will
      be coming earlier. Hurray!


      Talk to you soon again, and thanks for being a part of CoCoRaHS.
      Remember, if your e-mail address has or will be changing, please let us
      know so we can update our database. If you don't want to receive these
      messages, let me know and we'll make sure we remove you from the list.

      Nolan Doesken
      CoCoRaHS
      Colorado State University
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