A usually shallow Spring Creek in northern Colorado....became a raging torrent of muddy water flooding most of Fort Collins on July 28th, 1997. This was the result of 2 days worth of soaking rains totaling nearly 16 inches. The catastrophic damage added up to 200 million dollars and 5 people drowned.
A year later, Colorado State University sought to learn from this disaster by developing a weather observer network called Cocorahs or the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. The goal was to obtain more complete rainfall data in this area to better forecast future floods and to protect life and property.
Since then, Cocorahs has spread nationwide including here in the ArkLaTex.
The map from their web site shows very few participants in our area though.
Thus, the Shreveport National Weather Service is looking to change that by recruiting more weather observers in their March Madness sign up program.
Senior Meteorologist Jason Hansford explains:
"March has been designated as Cocorahs March Madness Month...which is kind of an outreach program to try to recruit as many new observers as possible...preparing more so for the spring and summer heavy rainfall and severe weather seasons."
Anyone can become a member and even schools are encouraged to apply since Cocorahs is a wonderful learning tool.
All you have to do is go to the web site www.cocorahs.org and register for free.
Then, you 'll need to purchase an official 4 inch rain gauge like this one for less than 30 bucks and mount it in a specified area away from trees and overhangs. The Cocorahs web site will tell you how.
Next, the fun starts as you measure the daily rainfall and record it online plus any significant weather like hail, tornadoes and flooding. It's that easy! the National Weather Service has many uses for the Cocorahs weather data according to Jason Hansford:
"I use the Cocorahs data an awful lot for warning forecasts and warning decisions for Flash Flood Watches also the data again goes into the issuance of River Flood Products especially for Drought Products I coordinate with the Texas and Louisiana State Climatologists every week on drought conditions."