Feeling a Little Parched, Anyone?

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If your part of the state is anything like Fairfield County (southeast of Columbus), it has been quite some time since your last good soaker. In fact, in Lancaster, Ohio, where Fairfield County OSU Extension is headquartered, we haven’t had a single shower measuring greater than 0.2” since October 13th! It’s hard to walk outside without kicking up a bit of dust.


How long has it been since you’ve had rain? One good tool you can use to figure this out is a database called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network – or CoCoRaHS for short!


A precipitation map of central Ohio, showing rain amounts since November 1, 2023
This map shows that precipitation totals in Central Ohio since November 1st have been minimal.



This is the homepage of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network  website
The homepage of the CoCoRaHS website displays rainfall totals from past 24 hours.


CoCoRaHS is a non-profit, community-based network of volunteers like you and me. Participants, also known as community scientists, are from all over the country and measure and report rain, hail, & snow in their own backyards.


The measurements collected by participants have many applications that help the public better understand weather and climate, and the information is used by numerous organizations, including The National Weather Service, NOAA, and locally by emergency managers, farmers, and homeowners.


Virtually anyone can participate - young, old, and in-between. The only requirements are an enthusiasm for watching & reporting weather conditions, a desire to learn more about how weather can affect and impact our lives, and an approved high-capacity rain gauge.


a rain gauge is mounted on a wooden post
The 4” diameter, high-capacity rain gauge is required for participation in the program and can be purchased on the CoCoRaHS website for a small fee.


Community scientists take daily precipitation measurements in their own backyards using low-cost measurement tools, including a 4” diameter, high-capacity rain gauge. Once trained, volunteers report their daily observations through their CoCoRaHS account (via phone app or website), and these precipitation measurements are displayed on interactive maps located on the CoCoRaHS website. With over 20,000 active contributors across North America, Precipitation Monitors make a big impact.


Rainfall measurements can be submitted via the CoCoRaHS app
Daily precipitation measurements can be submitted on the CoCoRaHS website or via their free app.


Why so many? Have you have ever experienced the phenomenon of seeing rain falling in the distance but never feeling a drop in your location? If so, you know how variable precipitation can be! By providing your daily observation, you help to fill in a piece of the weather puzzle that affects many across your area.


Access precipitation maps and learn more about CoCoRaHS by visiting their website: www.cocorahs.org