South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has proclaimed March 14-20, 2021, as South Carolina Citizen Weather Observer Week, thanks to efforts by the South Carolina State Climatology Office.
This week celebrates and recognizes South Carolina’s National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Observers (COOP), SKYWARN Spotters, and Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) volunteers.
Across the Palmetto State, citizens, who are a part of these programs, volunteer their time to help to track daily weather conditions and relay critical information during extreme events, such as hurricanes, drought, severe and winter weather, to state and federal agencies.
The National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) serves as the nationwide weather and climate monitoring network, comprised of volunteer citizens and institutions observing and reporting weather information regularly.
Currently, there are more than eighty volunteers that serve in this capacity across the state. South Carolina is home to five recipients of the National Weather Service Thomas Jefferson Award and 26 recipients of the John Campanius Holm Award. Both awards are presented to only the stations operating to the utmost standards. In September 2020, the World Meteorological Organization awarded the Centennial Site Award to the downtown Charleston station, making it only the eighth station in the United States to receive this prestigious designation.
In addition to the COOP program, over 400 citizen-science weather observers provide supplemental information on precipitation across the state as part of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS). Each COOP and CoCoRaHS observer must operate their station with accuracy, promptness, legibility, cooperation, consistency, and care of equipment, without any compensation for their work.
The climatological database generated through volunteer observers’ efforts, such as those who are a part of the COOP and the CoCoRaHS programs, stands as the cornerstone of our nation’s weather history as South Carolina has experienced tremendous changes since record-keeping started in the mid- to late-1800s. Thanks to their dedication, we have continually monitored the trends and variability of our state’s climate.
There are also citizens of South Carolina who’ve obtain critical weather information through the NWS SKYWARN® program. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing reports of severe weather to the NWS. This service enables NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods.
The South Carolina State Climatology Office feels those who have volunteered to provide these services should be recognized for their efforts that benefit the state and the nation, and are pleased to announce this official proclamation.
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