Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fall 2007 Arrives

Regardless of how the weather outside feels today where you live, it is now fall.

For some the signs are already here, especially in the Rockies where the annual fall color show has begun.

One CoCoRaHS observer in Cook County, Illinois has noticed some golden leaves on the Locust trees.

As the sun angle in the sky gradually lowers in the days ahead, and the days become shorter, cold air will build across the Arctic and occasionally move south in the form of strong cold fronts.

These fronts will bring anything from snow and cold to severe weather across the lower 48 states.

The average first date for measurable snowfall in Denver is October 19. But for many cities in colder climates of the US, that date doesn't come until mid-November, including Chicago and Indianapolis.

A measurable snowfall is defined as being 0.1 inches or more.

Now is a great time to get out the snowboard and snowstick for those in the snowy climates, and to brush up on your snow measurement skills.

Any questions? Feel free to ask. In the days ahead we'll do some reviewing in the blog, as well as in Nolan's email updates.

The other day I suggested if you have time -- you should read some of the daily comment reports from CoCoRaHS observers in your state and around the nation.

To do this, go up to the menu across the top of the page and click on "View Data" -- then click on "Daily Comment Reports" when the page loads.

To see all states, change your pull-down menu to say "Select State" -- otherwise select the specific state you are interested in.

Here is a great comment from an observer near Chadwick, Illinois on Sunday morning.

"Have no idea where the .02 moisture came from - maybe the big fat bublebee dead in the top funnel. Temp 53, sunny, clear and no wind."

Here is a data entry tip for those who are busy with work and other projects. A zero entry for precipitation may not seem like a big deal, but to a climatologist, it is just as important as that 6.01 inch rainfall.

You never know how a zero report could come in handy. One example would be if an observer did get that huge 6.01 inch rain. Seeing who got rain and who got zero precipitation is extremely helpful for a climatologist or meteorologist reconstructing the storm.

If you are extremely busy like myself (working 2 jobs plus keeping up with life in general and hobbies like CoCoRaHS) you may find it helpful to keep a written log of precipitation during the week, then sit down on Saturday or Sunday and do the "catch-up" data entry.

In a month like September when there are ALOT of zero reports, it is ok to do this.

Just try your best not to FORGET to do that "catch-up" data entry.

In the event you do get a nice dose of rain or snow, it is awesome to file that report as fast as possible because now that CoCoRaHS is so big, there are literally thousnads of people logging in to check those maps each morning to see who got big rain and who did not -- users include fellow volunteers, the media, and the National Weather Service.

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