NEWPORT, CARTERET COUNTY - When Eastern Carolina starts getting warmer temperatures, it means severe weather season is near. That's when the National Weather Service relies heavily on volunteers.
John Jackson is one of those volunteers. He has a small rain gauge in his backyard that is a big help to the National Weather Service.
"The gauge itself is really simple. It's a graduated cylinder that measures rain in hundredths of inches and the funnel is designed to collect the liquid," said Jackson.
Jackson is part of a group called the "Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network," also known as CoCoRaHS. He said his daily routine for the group is simple.
"Every morning a 7 a.m., you check the gauge, go to the computer, fill in the square that asks how much precipitation and send it off," said Jackson.
The information gets to the National Weather Service office in Newport, where meteorologists believe that human observation is just as important as the data received from an automated station.
"Nothing beats a human observation. This is what this network will allow you to do with a plastic rain gauge" said David Glenn, an NWS meteorologist. "It allows us to get data in spots where we don't have automatic stations."
If you want to be a part of CoCoRaHS, the only thing you need is a rain gauge, internet access, and an interest in weather.
There are CoCoRaHS volunteers in every county in the NewsChannel12 viewing area except Greene County. But NWS officials hope to have one there very soon.
To sign up click here.