National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Southern Heat Continues; Severe Storms and Heavy Rain

A summer heat wave continues across much of the Southern U.S where widespread excessive heat warnings and heat advisories remain in effect. Scattered thunderstorms, some severe with damaging winds and large hail, will be possible today mainly across Montana, and from the Ohio/Tennessee Valleys into the Carolinas. Excessive rainfall from thunderstorms in these areas may lead to flash flooding. Read More >

Cooperative Observers are needed in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin

There are currently no openings for cooperative weather observers.

If you are interested in becoming a cooperative weather observer, please contact Michelle Margraf.

What is the job of a Co-Op observer?

To provide accurate and complete weather data, observations are required seven days a week, 365 days a year. This does not mean that someone has to be monitoring the "weather" all the time; instruments are provided to monitor temperature and precipitation. However, someone should be available to record the daily maximum and minimum temperature, the precipitation, and snowfall. This generally is done between 5 AM and 9 AM.

This information is entered online and transmitted to the local NWS office for quality assurance before forwarding to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina.

What equipment do I use?

The placement and type of Cooperative Weather Observers is determined by the NCDC and the local NWS office. Generally cooperative stations are evenly spaced in relatively flat terrain (more than 30 miles apart) but may be closer together in hilly terrain or under special circumstances.

Personnel from the NWS will deliver, set up and maintain the necessary equipment. Typically, the Co-Op station consists of a set of a Max/Min Temperature System (MMTS) and a 8 inch stainless steel rain gauge. Precipitation is measured by placing a calibrated stick into the tube, seeing where the water marks the stick and recording the data.

In the winter, the observer also uses a snowboard to measure newly fallen snow.

For more information on the instrumentation used, check out the Instrument page.

What kind of training is involved?

Training consists of on site, hands on instruction with the designated Co-Op Observer and their backup. This usually is done the same day as the equipment is installed and takes about one hour. If necessary, additional training may be provided upon request. Basic equipment maintenance is discussed and the Co-Op observer is provided with a name ("point of contact") and a number should additional questions or problems arise.

Additional training material can be found on the Instructional Material page.

If you have additional questions, please call (or e-mail) Michelle Margraf at (952) 368-2520. Michelle is the Observing Program Leader for the National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities.