Thursday, October 16, 2014

Looking for volunteers to measure precipitation

There is a great volunteer network or precipitation observers that was started back in 1998 in Colorado called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network or CoCoRaHS.  From their website:

"CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow).   By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Web-site, our aim is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications."

There is lots of great information at the website:

Here you can find out more about the program, watch the introduction video, see the map of current volunteers locations, and of course sign up to be part of the network.

On the website there are also lots of training videos that show exactly how the do the precipitation measurements:

To join the network you have to purchase the measurement equipment, the total cost including shipping is around $40 at the moment.

We the UW weather station want to encourage people to join the CoCoRaHS network.  In particular we are looking for people in the vicinity of the weather station to join.  To that end we are willing to help subsidize half of the the cost ($20) of the measurement equipment for the first 5 people who join the network within the area within the red line on this map (basically between Erb Street West on the south, Conservation Drive on the north, Erbsville Road on the west and Weber Street on the east):

**Click on the image below if you can't see the entire image **

In order to qualify for the subsidy, you first have to email us ( ) and tell us you are interested, then sign up on the CoCoRaHS website as normal and buy the equipment.  Once you become part of the network (ie. appear on the map) we will give you the $20 subsidy.  Remember this offer is only for the first 5 people who email us and become part of the network.

Please leave any questions in the comments below.

Monday, October 13, 2014

First frost day in the region

At 3:15 am on October 12th, the temperature at the UW weather station went below zero for the first time this fall.  This is about the average date for the first frost for the last 16 years.  Note that this is the temperature recorded at the 2 m height of the temperature instrument, thus it is possible that the temperature would have been below zero close to the ground surface before this date.  A more precise term would probably be "air frost" for what we measure at the station.

See a full explanation here:

The last time is was below zero at the station was April 27 giving a growing season length of 168 days, which is a little longer than the average for the last 16 years which is 160 days.

Friday, October 3, 2014

September 2014 Summary

A very wet and hot September

Despite a cold snap in the middle of September, the overall temperature was a little over a degree above average.  This was a result of the really warm temperatures that ended the month which many thought it was the best week of the summer, which of course happened during the first week of autumn.

However, the real story of the month was the incredible amount of precipitation we saw.  The average amount for the month was already surpassed by the 10th of September.  The total of 159.8 mm was the third highest for the month of September in the 100 years of records in the region (behind 1986 at 216.6 mm and 175.3 mm in 1942).  All this happened despite it being dry for the last 9 days of the month.

As a consequence of this very wet month the total for the year of 746.1 mm is now higher than the average for this time of year of 683.5 mm.

Summary for September 2014:
Maximum Temperature 29.1°C
Minimum Temperature 2.6°C
Average Daily High Temperature 20.7°C (Long term average 20.0°C)
Average Daily Low Temperature 9.9°C (Long term average 8.3°C)
Total Precipitation 159.8 mm (Long term average 87.5 mm)

(Long term averages based on 1971-2000 data for the Waterloo Wellington Airport)

Results of summer of 2014 poll

The results are in and over half of people thought it was either a great (34%) or good (28%) summer, while the rest of the categories were pretty even.

Here are the detailed results:

Great (Just the right temperature, free air conditioning)  16 (34%)

Good (Could have used a more few hot days)  13 (28%)

OK (I'm easy to please) 6 (13%)

Bad (Needed more warmth)  6 (13%)

Terrible (When did summer happen exactly?)  5 (10%)

Total votes: 46