Calling all weather geeks. Florida’s state climatologist wants your help.

The weather world’s version of March Madness is underway with a national competition to enlist citizen scientists, and Florida’s chief climatologist wants to win.

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network has been staging the competition since 2006 to enlist backyard weather watchers and expand the number of weather stations collecting rain data, a critical link in tracking climate patterns. Florida won for the first time in 2017, but lost to South Carolina last year, an unacceptable position for a state that typically ranks among the top contenders for monthly rainfall records.

“All it takes is an interest, curiosity, and a little dedication,” Florida’s state climatologist, David Zierden, said in an email.

Volunteers would need to invest in a rain gauge, which he said costs about $30, and be willing to record rainfall totals either daily or every few days.

“Multi-day totals are also accepted if you are out of town or otherwise unavailable,” he said.

Observations are used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service and other climate scientists, he said.

So far, Florida is neck-and-neck with Minnesota and New Mexico, coming in third by a hair. The winner gets to take home the coveted CoCoRaHS cup, a rain gauge mounted on a wooden trophy base. The competition ends March 31.

“There is always a need for a greater number of observations,” organizers said. “As the saying goes, ‘the rain doesn’t fall the same on all.’”

For more information, email Danny Brouillette at or visit