Friday, November 23, 2012
CORVALLIS – A statewide network that uses Oregon citizens to collect local data on rain, snow and even hail is seeking a new wave of volunteers.
Coordinated by the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University, the program is part of the national Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS. This national initiative has volunteers in every state who collect and report precipitation data, providing scientists with important data that supplements that which comes from existing weather stations.
Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU, works with the Oregon volunteers, who number about 300. She would like to greatly expand that number.
“The national organization was begun in 1997 in Fort Collins, Colo., after they had a major localized storm there, but other areas in the city only received modest amounts of rain,” Dello said. “People thought, ‘how can that happen?’ It illustrates how fickle weather data can be. It can rain an inch in one location, and be completely dry a couple of miles away.
“That’s why we need more volunteers to report on local events,” Dello pointed out. “It will provide us much more accurate data, which leads to better precipitation maps and over the long haul, more accurate forecasting.”
CoCoRaHS volunteers must buy a rain gauge for about $27 plus shipping, watch a short training video, and report as frequently as possible the amount of rainfall and snowfall in their area. Interested persons should go to the CoCoRaHS website at www.cocorahs.org to sign up.
Dello said Oregon needs more volunteers throughout the state, but especially in eastern and southern Oregon, along the Oregon coast, in the foothills of the Coast Range and Cascades, and in areas just outside of cities that have a bit of elevation change.
“Elevation change is important because that can be a factor in how much precipitation falls,” Dello said. “We are trying to work out an arrangement with Oregon wineries, because many vineyards are in those exact locations and people are working there every day. They would be a great resource.”
Ironically, Dello said, one area of the greatest need is in and around Corvallis.
Dello said the work is easy, the rain gauges provide accurate information, and it can be a good family or educational activity.
“I think it would be a great activity for middle school or high school kids, with a bit of supervision from parents,” Dello said. “We’d also love to have retirees, or anyone who cares about the weather. The data will really be useful in better understanding Oregon weather.”
Weather-lovers can learn more about Oregon’s fickle weather by following Dello on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/orclimatesvc
About the OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences: CEOAS is internationally recognized for its faculty, research and facilities, including state-of-the-art computing infrastructure to support earth/ocean/atmosphere observation and prediction. The college is a leader in the study of the Earth as an integrated system, providing scientific understanding to complex environmental challenges.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge