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National Weather Service calls for volunteer weather monitors

Park City Coop site at home of City Marshall E. P. Tracy in 1918
National Weather Service
Original Park City weather observation site at home of City Marshall E. P. Tracy in 1918

The National Weather Service is looking for volunteers to measure precipitation at its Park City weather station as part of its Cooperative Observer Program.

Observations Program Leader, Lisa Verzella, explains the program runs with the help of more than 8,700 volunteers across the country.

“We have automated and mostly manual weather equipment that we pass out to observers who are volunteers who take temperature and precipitation observations for us every single day, for decades, or sometimes over a century.”

Observers are tasked with taking daily rain measurements and melted snow in the summer, overnight snowfall and snow depth measurements in the fall, winter and spring.

The Park City Cooperative Service Station at City Park officially began in 1889, only eight years after the birth of the program.

Park City resident Rip Griffith was the main observer but passed away in 2022. Local Carol Will and Alex Natt teamed up after Griffith's passing to continue the work, but are now no longer able to do so.

Verzella says the data taken by Park City observers is crucial to helping define the country’s climate and assist in measuring long-term changes.

She said being an observer means you have to be on the ball when it comes to weather.

“Snow is probably the trickiest part. And it's extremely helpful, I think, to have, you know, boots on the ground and eyes in, you know, the human element of involvement and taking weather.”

More information about the Cooperative Observer Program can be found on the National Weather Service website or by emailing lisa.verzella@noaa.gov.