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Volunteers provide key information for National Weather Service

NWS measurement snow rain
Posted at 7:32 AM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 08:21:55-05

To get accurate weather data, meteorologists rely on more than just a radar.

A group of volunteers in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network —CoCoRaHS for short — also help gather real-time weather information for meteorologists to report.

These volunteers gather information about how hard it is raining, the size of hail and the amount of snow falling right in their backyards.

Because the volunteers are located in different areas, it also helps the National Weather Service get a good idea of what is happening or what will develop throughout regions nationwide.

This information can be used when issuing advisories, warnings and watches for various types of weather. Transportation departments also use that data to determine which areas demand more resources like salt or snow plows.

Meteorologist Ashley Novak with the National Weather Service in Wilmington said there area around 250 volunteers in the Greater Cincinnati area, but more are needed.

"Radars are a very good valuable tool but it estimates what's going on, and so we need these ground truth observations that can provide how much rainfall and how much exactly snowfall is occurring there at the surface," said Novak.

If you are interested in joining CoCoRaHS, the next class is online, Tuesday, March 15th from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The class is free and for all ages. Training is also available on their website.