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Help collect weather data for Oregon Climate Service

About 300 Oregonians already volunteer

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University is part of the national Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network and relies on volunteers to help gather data about Oregon's rainy weather.A statewide network that uses Oregon citizens to collect local data on rain, snow and even hail is seeking a new wave of volunteers.

The network is coordinated by Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University and is part of the national Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.

The national initiative has volunteers in every state who collect and report precipitation data, providing scientists with important information that supplements information coming from existing weather stations.

Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University, works with about 300 Oregon volunteers.

“The national organization was begun in 1997 in Colorado after they had a major localized storm there, but other areas in the city only received modest amounts of rain,” Dello said. “People thought, ‘how can that happen?’ It illustrates how fickle weather data can be. It can rain an inch in one location, and be completely dry a couple of miles away.”

That’s why scientists need more volunteers to provide more accurate data, Dello added. Volunteers must buy a rain gauge for about $27 plus shipping, watch a short training video and report as frequently as possible the amount of rainfall and snowfall in their area.

“I think it would be a great activity for middle school or high school kids, with a bit of supervision from parents,” Dello said. “We’d also love to have retirees, or anyone who cares about the weather. The data will really be useful in better understanding Oregon weather.”

For more information or to sign up, visit cocorahs.org.

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