County of Marin - News Releases - Weather Watchers Needed

For Immediate Release
October 14, 2015

Marin Recruits Volunteer Weather Watchers

Timed for California Flood Preparedness Week, help needed for El NiƱo

San Rafael, CA – With El Niño looming, Marin County is recruiting some dedicated weather watchers in time for the rainy season.

A hilltop view of storm clouds over Marin.California Flood Preparedness Week (October 19-24) includes a free weather watchers orientation at the Point Reyes Fire Station, 4th and B streets, Point Reyes Station, at 5:30 p.m. October 22. Volunteer weather watchers may become part of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), the largest provider of precipitation observations in the United States, which submits daily precipitation data to the National Weather Service.

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 1,322 volunteers statewide, including 45 in Marin (up from 20 last year). 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 (112).

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. It’s a great and meaningful pastime for retirees, too.

No registration is necessary to attend the orientation, but 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

The latest precipitation outlook for December through March indicates that Marin will likely receive more rain the usual and tides could be significantly higher than predicted because of higher ocean water temperatures. Regardless of predictions, the Marin County Flood Control & Water Conservation District  prepares every year as though it is an El Niño year. Weather patterns are unpredictable, so the Flood Control District implements a consistent system of facility and creek maintenance each year to mitigate flood risks.

Marin Flood Preparedness Week Fair on October 24 is an additional step in public awareness and education. Local residents, property owners and business owners can learn the best way to prepare for winter storms at the free event. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., drop by the Manzanita Room at the Marin Exhibit Hall, near the back parking lot of the Marin County Fairgrounds. The address is 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael.  

(Archive storm photo by Jeff Archer)


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