CoCoRaHS -- Some good news
- Dear rain gaugers,
Just a few CoCoRaHS items today to share.
1a) Remember, as cold weather sets in, that the inner tube of the
CoCoRaHS rain gauge is susceptible to freezing and cracking. Don't let
water freeze solid in the tube. If snow or freezing precipitation is
expected, remove the funnel and inner cylinder and catch the
precipitation in the outer cylinder. Every year we hear many complaints
"may gauge cracked -- I can't measure any more". This can be avoided
with a little planning and preparation. Refer to snow measurement
training materials on the CoCoRaHS website.
1) Interesting weather happening -- as usual
It's still dark here in Colorado as I write this morning, but when I
checked the national weather map when I first woke up I see that it is
warmer this morning in much of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana than it is
in Georgia and northern Florida. Alas, the atmosphere is doing what it
loves to do -- and does it best when the winds aloft in the troposphere
are strong and "meridional" (moving north-south rather then "zonal"
which is west to east). Ridges and troughs are migrating about
pushing cold air southward in some areas while pulling warm air
northward in others. Our forecast for the weekend is glorious with high
temperatures predicted in the upper 70s. Meanwhile Atlanta will barely
reach 50 today. That will all change next week as a trough of low
pressure moves into the the Rockies and the east will warm up. Our
weather is just amazing. I love it.
2) Updated Water Year Summaries
The updated Water Year Summaries for 2010 (that cover October 2009 -
Sept 2010) have now been updated and posted. If you submitted any
reports at all during this 12-month period, we created a summary for
your station. We also compiled all the summaries by county and state.
To view your own station summary in either Excel or in HTML -- click
on "My Account" at the top of the CoCoRaHS website
If you want to view other station summaries in your area or anywhere in
the country, then go to "View Data". About half way down that list
you'll come to "2009-2010 Water Year Summary Reports". Click on that
and then go exploring. We did notice one little goof. The HTML version
of these reports is only displaying monthly and annual precipitation
totals to the nearest 0.1" and is truncating the "hundredths". We'll
get that fixed eventually. The Excel versions have the hundredths correct.
As you view these reports you will see firsthand the amazing variations
of precipitation across the country this past water year. I've spotted
at least 3 stations that received over 100" for the year, but there are
also dozens in the western states that totaled less than 10" and a few
with less than 5" You have to go into the individual reports to see and
compare snowfall totals, but I found one station in the mountains of
Colorado that totaled 433" of snowfall for this past water year. Think
about what that must be like. I have visited this beautiful location
and met this great weather observer and naturalist. The road to his
house is not plowed during the winter, so when he needs groceries he
gets to ski to town -- making sure, of course, to avoid avalanche chutes.
A CoCoRaHS reality is that we encourage people to participate as much or
as little as they can realistically fit into their schedules. As a
result, many people are able to help with CoCoRaHS, but only a modest
fraction of the stations have complete data for all or most of the
year. We don't notice this when we look at the maps for any given day,
but it really stands out when you look at the water years summaries and
compare the number of reports. So don't let that bother you. It's just
a natural part of CoCoRaHS. But for purposes of summarizing
precipitation nationally, we will focus on those stations with complete
With the help of friends and family, I was able to measure and report
all 365 days and my total in northwest Fort Collins was 17.03" of
precipitation (rain and melted snow) which his about 1.50" above my
long-term average. My snowfall total was 93.3" -- the most I've
measured since starting CoCoRaHS. By next year we hope to have
estimates of 30-year averages for almost every CoCoRaHS station so we
can all interpret our data in historic perspective, even if we're just
starting. We also want to provide graphing options so we can visually
see and compare our data.
Also keep in mind that some of us report each and every day when
precipitation falls but don't always report on dry days. These data may
appear incomplete when you look at the "Days Covered by All Reports" but
when you look at the monthly and annual totals you'll see they compare
well with those stations that report every day.
If you look closely at the summary reports you'll notice that some
stations show more than 365 days. How could that be? This can be
explained by conflicts with overlapping periods from multiday
accumulation reports. The monthly and seasonal totals may still be
correct for these stations but the number of days covered may not be.
For example, we found one station that showed over 3000 reports for this
past year. It turns out they mistyped the year when they were entering
a multiday report so it appeared that they entered an accumulation that
covered 2001 through 2010 -- Oops. But it can be easily fixed, so
it's not as bad as it looks.
There will be opportunities now to improve these reports. Some of you
prefer to keep you statistics from Jan-Dec instead of Oct-Sep, so we
will plan to do a calendar year summary as well.
3) CoCoRaHS Rain Gauge Calendars
As of yesterday, about 300 CoCoRaHS calendars have been sold. We
printed about 3000 (I hope we weren't too optimistic) We need to sell
over 1600 to break even. After that, we hope to raise a little revenue
for supporting CoCoRaHS. We understand that WeatherYourWay will start
shipping the calendars to their new homes beginning later next week.
I'm not exactly ready for Christmas shopping yet (for me that's after
Dec 20 :-) ) but do consider this new calendar as a unique gift for
the weather watcher on your list. We added a page inside the calendar
to describe what CoCoRaHS is and encourage new volunteers to join.
4) Some very good news
I have some great news to share about CoCoRaHS and our future plans. It
will have to wait until next time though because . . . .
. . . the eastern sky is lighting up with a beautiful sunrise is
taking shape. I need to sign off and quickly eat some breakfast. My
list of outdoor chores for today is immense and over optimistic, but we
just don't get that many chances in November to have weekends this warm
and sunny. So I'll hop to it and talk to you later. We'll even be
doing some house painting we never quite finished this summer.
Take care. Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for being a part of CoCoRaHS.
Colorado State University