How much snow did you get?  How did it compare to what your neighbors received?  Or your co-workers?  And did your total match what the television stations reported?

We count on local meteorologists to provide us the forecasts that we base our work and recreation on.  In order to do that, those meteorologists count on data - lots of data.  The weather models that they run in order to provide a semi-accurate forecast for our area depends on both historical and contemporary weather data - specifically things like temperature and precipitation (both snow and rain) amounts.

The data needed for forecasting the weather mainly comes from the US National Weather Service.  Locally, the Duluth office is the branch that most Northlanders are familiar with.

While the weather service is staffed with a lot of people, they obviously can't be everywhere.  That's where volunteer, semi-amateur weather observers (or "watchers") come into play.

At the Duluth branch of the US National Weather Service, they lean on a network of local observers who are tasked with canvassing the Arrowhead region.  That network is called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS); their colloquial mission is "because every drop counts".  And, with their reporting, every drop does count - across the country, into Canada, even in the Bahamas.

Every day, the forecasts that you read, hear, and see come from the data that CoCoRaHS delivers to the US National Weather Service.  And while the have a pretty deep staff of volunteers, they are always looking for more people to help out.  After all, the more data they can collect, the better the final forecast becomes.

Recently, the US National Weather Service in Duluth took to their Facebook page to solicit additional people to volunteer to take part in CoCoRaHS. According to their post, "74% of [the most recent snowfall amount] observations came to [them]....through the network.

To join CoCoRaHS Network, it's as easy as clicking the link on the US National Weather Service-Duluth's website.  They'll even provide the free training.

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