County of Marin - News Releases - Volunteer Weather Watchers

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2014

County Recruiting an Army of Weather Watchers

Volunteer training at October 24 at the Board of Supervisors Chambers

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Department of Public Works is recruiting local weather enthusiasts to join a growing network of volunteers who submit daily precipitation data to the National Weather Service. A free orientation is scheduled for October 24 in San Rafael.

The weather information is gathered from a four-inch-diameter rain gauge and reported online each day at 7 a.m. The data is used to verify radar estimates and helps form the official weather alerts and forecasts from the National Weather Service. In addition to daily submission of precipitation amounts – even zero amounts should be submitted – volunteers also can add descriptions of the weather from their homes.

There are 1,237 volunteers statewide, including 20 in Marin. With the variable terrain and microclimates within the county, “You can't get enough observers,” said volunteer Debbie Clarkson. Marin’s volunteer base is lagging well behind Sonoma County (107).

It's known as the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), and it’s the largest provider of precipitation observations in the United States. People of all ages can volunteer – even children with parental permission. It might even work out well as a school project for a young student.

A free orientation is being offered to volunteers at 4 p.m. October 24 at the Marin County Civic Center Board of Supervisors Chambers (Suite 330) in observance of California Flood Preparedness Week. The Civic Center is at 3501 Civic Center Drive in San Rafael. No advance registration required.

Information about how to become a volunteer, where to get an official gauge and where to position it is available on or by emailing Clarkson at


Hannah Lee
Senior Civil Engineer
Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 304
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-2671
Email: Hannah Lee
Public Works website