WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Long-term climate data is an important resource. Past trends help KSN Storm Track 3 meteorologists better predict what will happen in the future.

Meteorologists and weather fans across Kansas are lucky enough to have a community-based network that collects data called the Kansas Mesonet that connects weather stations across the state.

“We report data in real-time. We collect all that data, and we provide it for decision-makers across the state and the public,” said Christopher Redmond, an assistant meteorologist at Kansas State University.

The Mesonet has been collecting data for nearly 40 years.

“They can even go back and look at some of the historical data, or they can look at precipitation over the year, they can look at soil moisture, changes with that precipitation, or they can look at soil temperature to look at planting,” said Redmond.

The Mesonet has more than 100 reporting sites in Kansas, at least one in nearly every county.

“To support that research, however, we realized quickly with time, and obviously over the last 30 years, that there’s definitely a need for weather data that’s user-friendly in the state of Kansas,” said Redmond.

CoCoRaHS is an acronym that stands for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network. One belongs to Sedgwick County’s Emergency Management Director Julie Stimson. She has been a CoCoRaHS observer for six years.

“I always had my own little weather stations at my house just for a hobby when there was a chance to be part of research and data collection. I just kind of thought, ‘why not,'” said Stimson. “You just do a daily report every morning at 7 a.m. if there is anything in the rain gauge, we do a measurement. It’s really easy on the app because they have an app now where you can just put the amounts in right from your phone.”

CoCoRaHS (KSN Photo)

“By adding CoCoRaHS observers around our weather stations, we can verify that rain or precipitation, or rain gauges are collecting precipitation accurately,” said Redmond.

The Kansas Mesonet and CoCoRaHS work together to help paint a clear picture of precipitation.

“Then help get more observers to help develop a better climate record as we move forward,” said Redmond.

“It’s valuable information, even though it may seem like it’s not. The data is being used for good,” said Stimson.

These observations allow us to understand the future enabling improvements to short-term and long-range weather models for better forecasts.

“We really want to encourage people to continue to observe,” said Redmond.

If you are interested in becoming a CoCoRaHS observer, click here.

Interested in signing up to win an umbrella or a rain gauge? Click here to view our contests.