Weather Service seeks volunteers in Lincoln and Lawrence counties

Published 10:03am Friday, March 7, 2014

Want to be a weatherman (or weatherwoman)? Here’s your chance.

The National Weather Service is looking for volunteers in Lincoln and Lawrence counties, said Marty Pope, a service hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson.

In a press release this week, the Weather Service put out a call for new members of their Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network (CoCoRaHS).

“There are no members in Lincoln or Lawrence counties,” Pope said, explaining that a number of weather measurements within any county are very important to the local inhabitants.

“[The National Weather Service] realized that we needed more and various measurements in populated areas to make the inhabitants aware of potential dangers,” Pope added.

CocoRaHS is a non-profit based community network that started in 1998 at Colorado State University’s Climate Center in response to a tragic flood that struck Fort Collins in 1997 and killed five people.

The Weather Service concluded that it needed weather observers spread through out communities to predict specific rainfalls as acute weather variations can have devastating affects on local tributary systems.

Pope said there hasn’t been an active observer in Lincoln County since 2012.

“We are missing volunteers in more of our rural counties in Mississippi,” Pope said. “I think a lot of the issue is having access to the Internet.”

Pope said that people of all ages are welcomed to participate. All that is needed is access to the Internet to send in reports and a measurement tool that costs around $30.

There is some training involved, but Pope said the Weather Service will provide participants with all the knowledge they need for the job.

“We’ll send people what they need,” Pope said, “but, it requires them purchasing a rain gauge. There will be information in the welcoming package and if they need more information or want to know how to get trained they can visit the website. The most difficult part is measuring precipitation everyday at the same time- that isn’t very hard. I have one at my home and it’s been a habit of mine for years to go outside and get my measurement.”

Pope said there is plenty of educational information available at the cocorahs.org website that includes visual demonstrations and slide shows.

“But, we will be on hand for any questions that someone may have,” Pope said.

For questions about the program, call Pope, meteorologist Daniel Lamb, or administrative assistant Joanne Culin at 601-936-2189. Or email Pope and Lamb at Marty.Pope@noaa.gov, or Daniel.Lamb@noaa.gov.