Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weather Observer

For the last eleven  months I have had a CoCoRaHS rain gauge that I got from the WeatherYourWay Store. No I do not make observations for CoCoRaHS though I do read and rely on their reports that I get either through my local office of the National Weather Service on their daily CoCoRaHS Precipitation Summary Page or from the CoCoRaHS page for my State. But I do volunteer work for the Mt Holly Office of the National Weather Service (NWS) as a skywarn spotter. I took my basic skywarn spotter training six days before Superstorm Sandy hit, and I made my first spotter report to the Mt. Holly office of the NWS the morning after Sandy.

As a skywarn spotter I call my local NWS to report severe weather eventss: tornado or funnel cloud, hail of any size, winds of 50 mph or stronger, wind damage (trees, wires down, damage to structures, snow accumulation, ice accumulation, and flash or river flooding. I monitor rainfall and it is useful information to have when I call the NWS with a spotter report. For example, when I made my first spotter report after SS Sandy the meteorologist asked me how much rain we had. I could not give an accurate answer because I did not have my gauge up, but I gave her an estimate. Another time, I was reporting small stream flooding along with the possibility that a River was rising quickly and might reach the point where she might spill her banks. They asked me how much rain I recorded and I told them. 

I enjoy making my observations for the NWS, I'm hardly an expert on meteorology, but I did learn something about weather when I was studying for the FAA private pilot written exam over three years ago. Remember I am not a licensed pilot, but I go on scenic flights with supportive pilots when I can. Anyway, making observations for the NWS seemed like a good fit because of my interests in aviation.

So, I have my sheet where I have been recording rainfall from my rain gauge and have noticed the dry weather in September and October. Yes, and I have cloud chart in my kitchen. So since I have been recording daily rainfall for the past eleven months, I am more sensitive to rainfall extremes. And it has been a tad dry here. The dry weather that I've observed here got me wondering about wildfire activity in the northeast and mid-atlantic regions of the U.S., and I'll be writing about that in my next post.

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