What is CoCoRaHS

Volunteer weather reporting is an important tool in understanding local rainfall patterns and how they affect the valley and surrounding mountains.  There are primarily 2 rainy seasons in the southwest, winter rains and the late summer monsoon which together account for the majority of the yearly precipitation in the desert southwest.  Strong winter rains result spectacular wildflower displays in the spring while strong monsoons result in a general greening of the desert and recharge the San Simon aquifer providing for year round water supplies.

CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network) is a nation wide volunteer precipitation reporting organization composed of citizen scientists with the goals:
"1) provide accurate high-quality precipitation data for our many end users on a timely basis; 2) increasing the density of precipitation data available throughout the country by encouraging volunteer weather observing; 3) encouraging citizens to have fun participating in meteorological science and heightening their awareness about weather; 4) providing enrichment activities in water and weather resources for teachers, educators and the community at large" (mission statement). 

In Hidalgo county NM there are 5 active CoCoRaHS reporting stations and 2 of these are in the San Simon Valley, one at the Painted Pony Resort and one at the Chiricahua Desert Museum.  Although only 2.8 miles apart this can make for a significant difference in rain fall totals.  Rain can vary significantly across the valley as evidenced by a local rainfall reporting group and in the photograph show below.  Frequently rain showers are isolated and while one area may experience significant rainfall areas close by may receive little or no rain.  So the more reporting stations, the more data available for analysis, resulting in a better the understanding of local climate.

isolated mountain rain storm
Isolated storm in the Chiricahua Mountains
rainfall in New Mexico
CoCoRaHS rain gauge at the Painted Pony Resort


  1. I am glad to read that you are doing this! I keep a rain gauge for myself to keep track of moisture but with the CoCoRaHS rain gauge you are really keeping track for the San Simon valley.

  2. If your interested in joining the network and becoming another reporting station the link is in the post. The more the merrier.

  3. No thank you! I just like keeping track for myself.