Calling all weather enthusiasts and future meteorologists!
If you're ready to take your interest for meteorology to the next level, check out these suggestions on how to be hands-on with weather in your community.
1. Become a volunteer Storm Spotter.
Do you enjoy a good thunderstorm? Looking to get involved in a public service opportunity? Why not combine these two interests and become an official storm spotter!
Storm spotters are weather enthusiasts who are trained by the National Weather Service (NWS) to recognize severe weather. By observing heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, tornadoes and reporting these to local NWS offices, you can play an essential role in improving meteorologist forecasts. Skywarn classes are held seasonally (usually during the spring and summer) and are free and open to the public. To accommodate all levels of weather knowledge, both basic and advanced sessions are offered.
To learn more about the NWS Skywarn program, including how you can attend a session in your hometown, visit the NWS Skywarn homepage.
2. Become a CoCoRaHS Observer.
If you're an early riser and are good with weights and measures, then becoming a member of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) may be for you.
CoCoRaHs is a grassroots network of weather enthusiasts of all ages with a focus on mapping precipitation. Every morning, volunteers measure precipitation type and amount received in their backyard, then report/input this data into the CoCoRaHS online database. Once the data is uploaded, it's graphically displayed and used by organizations like the NWS, USDA, and other state and local-level decision-makers.
To learn more about CoCoRaHS, including how you can join, visit cocorahs.org.
3. Become a COOP Observer.
If your interests are more climate-focused, consider joining the NWS Cooperative Observer Program (COOP). Cooperative observers help track climate trends by recording daily temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall amounts, and reporting these to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Once archived at NCDC, this data goes on to be used in climate reports around the country.
Unlike other opportunities included in this list, the NWS fills COOP vacancies through a selection process. (Decisions are based on whether or not a need for observations exists in your area.) If selected, you can look forward to the installation of a weather station at your site, as well as training and supervision provided by a NWS employee.
4. Participate in weather awareness events.
Certain days and weeks of the year are devoted to raising public awareness of weather hazards (such as lightning, flooding, and hurricanes) that impact communities on a national and local scale.
What events are planned for your region? Check out the NWS Weather Awareness Events Calendar to find out. Don't see your state listed? Contact your local news station or NWS weather forecast office for additional information. Why...you might even consider organizing a new weather-themed event for your community!