Tampa Bay observers on network of rain reports - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Bay observers on network of rain reports

Posted: Updated:
Tom Dougherty Tom Dougherty
It's often said in jest, but in Florida it can actually rain on one side of the street and not on the other. The official reporting stations at most airports can be dry on days when other parts of the Tampa Bay area are drenched, or vice versa.

To get a more complete picture of each rain event, the Tampa Bay National Weather Service relies on a network of backyard reports known as CoCoRaHS. That stands for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow.

"When we want our rainfall observations and reports, more is better.  The more we have, the more accurate our forecasts are," said Tom Dougherty, Observation Program Leader for the National Weather Service.

Florida has 1428 official observers in this network. Hillsborough County has 100 of those, and there are 56 observers in Pinellas County. Dougherty says it can get down to single digits in some of the rural counties.

These reports not only help the forecasters at the National Weather Service with verification of rainfall, but they can also help with river flooding forecasts. By increasing the number of observers, it helps fill in the gaps to give the forecasters the information they need.
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