Southeast & Caribbean Region

CoCoRaHS Rain Gauge

CoCoRaHS in the U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands is now participating in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation. By providing high-quality, accurate measurements, the observers are able to supplement existing networks and provide useful results to scientists, resource managers, decision makers, and other users.

CoCoRaHS volunteer observers in the U.S. Virgin Islands are helping to fill in important pieces of the climate puzzle that affects the Caribbean. Their efforts are making important contributions to scientists’ understanding of floods and even drought situations in the region. Due to its complex topography, ground observations are necessary to understand precipitation patterns in the Virgin Islands. Combining CoCoRaHS with National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program observations provides good area coverage across the Islands.

CoCoRaHS takes in data from volunteer observers across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and now the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you would like to become a CoCoRaHS observer, all you need is the desire to watch and report weather conditions, an internet-connected computer, and a four-inch diameter plastic rain gauge. For more information on how to join the volunteer observing network, visit the CoCoRaHS website. And, visit the U.S. Virgin Islands CoCoRaHS web page to learn more about the latest addition to the network.

NOAA’s  Southeast and Caribbean Regional Team (SECART)  and the National Center for Environmental Information teamed up with the NOAA’s National Weather Service Southern Region to initiate the collections in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.  Most of the credit for this effort, however, goes to the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Puerto Rico – and especially Odalys Martinez – for on the ground implementation.

NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information archives CoCoRaHS data as part of the Nation’s long-term climate record. This official record, known as the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), is an integrated database of climate summaries from global land surface stations. Once a CoCoRaHS observer has recorded at least 100 daily observations, his or her station data become part of the GHCN dataset. Once added to GHCN, these data can be used in larger scale regional analysis products such as maps showing precipitation totals and departures. And, these maps can then be useful in determining the regional climate of an area for a period of months to years.

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