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March Madness With CoCoRaHS

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CoCoRaHS Headquarters Facebook
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Typical precipitation gauge used to measure inches of rainfall.

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) recently announced their March Madness Challenge as part of an effort to increase citizen climate observers statewide.

“Oh, this is the best part of the year. I'm a new time homeowner. And I've been waiting six months to sign up for CoCoRaHS because I wanted to do it during our March Madness contest,” said Jon Meyer, a research climatologist at the Utah Climate Center and the state coordinator for the competition. “It's a state by state competition. Every state recruits as many people as they can to sign up during the month of March.”

Meyer said adding more observers helps water managers understand the complex Utah precipitation patterns and is an important part of managing the state’s water resources.

“I'm hoping this year we can spread the word that it's easy to really help the state monitor and measure our water resources,” Meyer said. “It's really easy, takes maybe a minute for most days. If there's no precipitation, you just open your app, you type in zero and you're done. So it'll be faster than your coffee will brew in the morning.”

Precipitation data is logged in real time so is available to anyone in addition to helping with flood warnings or to report snow totals. These backyard measurements are also stored in databases along with research-grade measurements to be used in forecasting models and for climate tracking models.

Meyer said there is lots of support to assist anyone who is interested in participating.

“You can be of any age and mindset to do this-- ages from five to 105. So as long as you can get outside to your backyard, you can be a participant,” said Meyer.

To find out more about the program and how to sign up for the March Madness competition, visit www.cocorahs.org