Hillsborough residents know the amount of rain that falls on Sourland Mountain isn't always the same as the amount that falls on Duke Farms or in Millstone—one area can get a deluge while another only sees a few drops.
Which is one of the reasons the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network—called "CoCoRaHs"—is looking for volunteer weather observers in the Hillsborough area to take a few minutes to report the amount of rain or snow that has fallen in their backyards each day.
All that is required to participate is a 4" diameter plastic rain gauge, a ruler to measure snow, an Internet-connected computer, and most importantly, the desire to watch and report weather conditions.
CoCoRaHS is a nationwide volunteer precipitation-observing network with more than 11,000 active volunteer observers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and over 200 in New Jersey. The New Jersey group is based in the Office of the NJ State Climatologist at Rutgers University.
The observations are useful especially for predicting flooding, as well as droughts.
"Rainfall amounts vary from one street to the next," CoCoRaHS founder and national director Nolan Doesken said. "It is wonderful having large numbers of enthusiastic volunteers and literally thousands of rain gauges to help track storms. We learn something new every day, and every volunteer makes a significant scientific contribution."