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Bertie weather reporters solicited

WINDSOR – If you have ever wondered what you can do to help during storms such a Tropical Storm Julia and Hurricane Matthew and you are interested in the weather, then read on.

One of the things officials need to better predict the impact of heavy rains in Bertie County and Windsor is a group of volunteer weather recorders.  Currently there is no systemic way to report various rainfall conditions across the county.  This leaves weather officials at a severe disadvantage when trying to predict if and when a flooding event might occur.  It also hinders emergency management when trying to estimate how the water will react if future flooding events occur.

As scientists currently study the impacts from Hurricane Matthew, they lack information on how different watersheds reacted based on the rain that fell in a particular area. For example, rain that fell in the Lewiston area (beginning of the Cashie River) takes several days to reach Windsor, whereas rain from Elm Church area may arrive in half the time. Rainfall amounts are critical in verifying predictive models that are currently being explored for Bertie County.

There is a volunteer weather reporting system in place in North Carolina that will gather data submitted locally, assimilate it and make it available to the National Weather Service, NCSU Climate Office and others, including NC Emergency Management and US Geological Survey.  This system, The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, needs volunteers in Bertie County. This is part of a National organization founded in 1998 and is active in all 50 states with nearly 10,000 observations reported by volunteers every day. However, there are currently no volunteer sites in Bertie County.

To join the CoCoRaHS, a brief on line training and an official four-inch plastic rain gauge is needed. Call Billy Barrow at the Bertie Cooperative Extension Service at 252-794-5317 for more information.