Community Rain Gauge on Montara Mountain

Hi. My name is Richard and I’m a CoCoRaHS observer. 

There—I said it.  

Like most addictions, it started innocently enough: an empty peanut butter jar out in the back yard, measuring with a ruler, not really sharing the information, but curious enough to watch the weather report and see how my measurement compared... But now, it's all about measuring to the nearest hundredth of an inch in a graduated cylinder that magnifies any accumulation, then posting the information online in a crowd-sourced database of precipitation that spans all 50 states and parts of Canada!!!!! 

(catching my breath...got too excited...okay...)

In case you hadn’t followed up on the question in my last post, CoCoRaHS stands for the Community Collaborative for Rain, Hail & Snow Network. It’s a volunteer effort to contribute high-quality measurements of precipitation for a better understanding of how much rain actually fell in any particular place, and how precipitation varies from place to place. 

After a rain, we usually hear about the “official” rainfall totals observed at SFO, Half Moon Bay, or some other airport …but what about the places in between? How much rain fell in those places? What about up on Skyline?, or down at Pigeon Point?, or on top of Montara Mountain?, or at your place? It's true that some of the gaps have been filled by local weather buffs and schools that have weather stations online, but there are still many, many gaps in the coverage.

And so... (drum roll, please)

We now have a rain gauge up on Montara Mountain, and you are invited to go visit, observe, and report any precipitation that has accumulated! In fact, this effort won't work without your help...

Hikers, bikers, runners, dog walkers, geocachers, locals, visitors… Whoever you are, however you get up there, now there’s something more to observe when you get near the summit. This is really an exercise in citizen science, and we (well, me, as part of CoCoRaHS) are hoping that the community will participate in this effort to better understand the rainfall patterns of our area.

Who knows what you will observe? It may be dry where you live, and you find 0.15 inches have accumulated up on the mountain; Or you may know that it rained last night, but you get up there and find the gauge empty because someone got there before you arrived; Or you might find 0.73 inches of rain that fell 4 days ago and nobody had reported their observation since that rain...We just won't know until you get up there and report what you observe. And keep in mind that it's just as important to report a dry gauge (0.00) as it is to report some other amount.  It's just funner to discover and report something other than zero (yes, I said "funner").

Where is it? - The gauge is attached to a sign post along the North Peak Access Road, south of the summit, and just west of the SFPUC watershed gate, as shown in the lead photo with this post. If you're into maps or GPS, the lat/lon coordinates are: 37.56055, -122.47803

>> Attached to the rain gauge is a label like that shown in the photo gallery with this post. You might like to read the label and explore the links before you visit the gauge; and don’t hesitate to send me a message if you have any questions: the email address is on the label. The QR code on the label links to the report form.

It's also worth noting that this project is being done with permission of the National Park Service, GGNRA, and with special thanks to our local contact for Rancho Corral de Tierra, who guided me through the permit process. Thanks :-)

Okay. I'm excited to add this remote observation point to the CoCoRaHS database, and even more excited to see how the community responds to this effort. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the results!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Erika Rigling August 18, 2013 at 02:16 PM
HI...sounds like fun.... I've always wanted to do this! Alas, can't climb up Montara mt. any more alotho I've done it in the past. I keep looking in science catalogues for a setup for my back yard. What is the url for observing this? Can I check it out even if I'm not posting?
Richard Whitmarsh August 18, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Erika - The data are free and available to the public (without membership or login) at cocorahs.org There are a few regular observers along the San Mateo County coast, and a few more on the bay side. Not sure of what kind of "setup" you're looking for, but CoCORaHS would certainly appreciate your data. You can learn more about joining cocorahs at their website (check out their site menu of resources along the margin). Send me an email if you have any more questions.
Richard Whitmarsh August 18, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Oops...email: howmuchrain@gmail.com And, hey!... Someone reported a dry rain gauge today :-) and we gotta start somewhere! Thanks :-)
Christa Bigue (Editor) August 19, 2013 at 09:51 AM
Thanks for letting the community know about this Richard! This does sound like fun and I hope more people will participate. May be a good idea to share with school groups. I'll pass along to my teacher friends. Sounds like a fun and educational field trip. On a side note, I like how you added the bit about getting the permit to do this. Seems there's a permit required for everything these days! Good for you for making that happen.
Richard Whitmarsh August 31, 2013 at 08:09 PM
0.02" in the gauge as of noon today, plus an ant...Not sure of when exactly it accumulated, or how much may have evaporated during the past week... One of the CoCoRaHS observers in Pacifica reported a total of 0.10" over last week, but no telling if that much actually fell up on top. ((Probably not given that the fog drizzle usually keeps pretty low.)) Hoping that we can increase the frequency of observations and reports by visitors. Remember: It's just as important to report a dry/empty gauge as it is to report the accumulation after a rain event. Thanks :-)
Richard Whitmarsh September 15, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Anybody gonna make it up there this weekend? I'm willing to bet there's been some accumulation...
Richard Whitmarsh September 26, 2013 at 09:31 PM
:-) Hey! Someone today reported the 0.58" that accumulated last Saturday. Maybe more on the way this coming Sunday-Monday...
Christa Bigue (Editor) September 27, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Oh, that's exciting! Not sure if you'll get many people up there on Sunday with the marathon happening but keep us posted.


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