Observation tips


Observation Tips

January 2009

Please scroll down to the bottom of this page (the page you get once you have entered your data) . . . after reading this message first . . .

Did you know you can check your precipitation report right on this page?  Simply scroll down and presto . . . there is the report you just entered.  This is a great way to check your report for accuracy making sure it says exactly what you meant it to. By taking this simple step we can all help to make sure that we are presenting the most accurate data to the public.  Thanks!

OK, don't forget to keep scrolling . . .

January 2009

The Degree Symbol ° -- How do I type it?

One of our observers writes: "I notice in the comments of many CoCoRaHS members, they are able to enter temperatures using a circle degree symbol°. I cannot find that symbol on my keyboard, so I assume they are accomplishing this by some combination on keys. Can you tell me how to do this?"  

Great question!  The way to enter the degree symbol is to type Alt + 0176 or Alt + 248 using the numeric keypad to the right of the keyboard (either number works). If you don't have a numeric keypad because you are using a laptop, then you need to use NumLock instead of the numbers across the top.

Here is a link to a list of Alt Codes

On a Mac, use Option + K

December 2008


Several folks have written us lately wondering how to avoid having the outer funnel of their rain gauge stick to the mounting bracket in cold wet weather.  What a very good question indeed.

While we do not have one simple solution we suggest that you try one of the following suggestions:  1) Use some sort of lubricant on the bracket such as "Vaseline"; 2) Pour warm, not hot, water over the bracket when removing the gauge; 3) try making a different type of mount for winter operation.  You can have your gauge protected, but free standing on a base that rarely freezes. One of our volunteers made a very nice wooden base with three dowls sticking up that keeps the gauge from blowing over but allows some play to loosen and lift the gauge; and 4) if all else fails, head down to South Florida, South Texas or Southern California for the winter.

Thanks again for your perseverance in all types of weather!

October 2007


Our new CoCoRaHS volunteers in the Florida Panhandle received some extremely heavy rains with some reports on Friday AM (October 19, 2007) exceeding 10.00" We really appreciate our new Florida observers and their efforts to report this extreme precipitation.

Any of us may experience heavy downpours. Because heavy precipitation can cause flooding and disrupt transportation, we encourage you to submit "Intense Precipitation Reports" at any time during the day or night.


This same form is used in the winter to report heavy snow, sleet or freezing rain.

Many have asked "How hard does it need to rain before I should submit an "Intense Precipitation Report"?" There is no universal definition of intense rain. What it takes to cause flooding varies through the year and from place to place. In general, any rain of at least 0.30" in an hour could be considered "heavy rain". Use your own judgment, and if you feel it is raining very hard, go ahead and report it. It is better to be safe than sorry.

If you would like to view the reports of intense precipitation from other observers then go to "View Data" and select:

Also, remember that even if you submit an intense precipitation report, that you still need to send in your normal daily report, too.

Thanks for helping!

September 2007


Is your rain gauge inner-cylinder starting to look a little grungy these days?  It's that time of year!  For most of us dirt will eventually build up on the bottom of your CoCoRaHS rain gauge inner-cylinder. In humid climates, algae growth can also be a bother.

If you want to keep your gauge clean and looking like new, put some warm water with a little gentle liquid hand soap in the tube and let it soak for a few minutes. Then twist a thin soft towel and spin it into the cylinder until it reaches the bottom. This will wipe out most of the dirt. It is not recommended to use a firm bottle brush to clean the gauge, nor is using your automatic dishwasher (This will gradually scuff and haze the inside of the gauge).

Another method is to take a newspaper, roll it to make a tight cylinder, and then rotate the paper on the inside of the tube all the way to the bottom. It will usually clean out the dirt.