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State needs weather watchers

Allen Best

EAGLE COUNTY – Nolan Doesken is looking for a few more people to track the weather in Eagle County. It’s not a task that will tie anybody down. It’s not quite like reporting to work.”This requires measuring and reporting when they’re at home, and not when they are not,” says Doesken, the Fort Collins-based assistant state climatologist.The purpose is to get a more precise look at major weather events in Colorado, partly to help predict what might happen in the future. In helping predict what might happen, flood-control measures can be improved.The program is called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, and it includes 1,000 weather reporters across Colorado. Of those, only four steady weather reporters are from Eagle County, which is fewer than what Doesken would like.If interested in becoming a volunteer weather observer, visit the Web site: http://www.cocorahs.org. Click “Join Us” to register. Or, to talk to a live person, call (970) 491-8545. If you want a local perspective, you can contact one of the existing volunteers by sending an e-mail to Cocorahs@cs.comIn addition to the volunteers, weather stations are scattered around the state. For years, the Eagle County Regional Airport kept full records, but now only keeps partial records. The only full-time weather station is also a relatively new one: the Vail Nature Center.Some of Colorado’s most significant floods have come from relatively isolated storms. Such was the case in the flood of 1997 in Fort Collins, where the core of the storm dropped 14 inches, while areas only a couple of miles away got only 2 inches. Five people died as a result of flooding in that storm.Something similar happened in 1976, when the Big Thompson River, west of Loveland, surged to a height of 30 feet, with drenching rains. Some homes that were swept away never got rain, despite the maelstrom only a few miles away. That flood was believed to have claimed 145 lives.Only a few weeks before the Big Thompson deluge, something similar had happened between Dotsero and Burns Hole. However, no one died as a result of that small, but powerful storm.Vail, Colorado


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