MINNEAPOLIS – This Monday marks 11 years since the genesis of WCCO's Weather Watcher Network, and fittingly, it arrives just after one of the people who help provide you with valuable weather information filed the network's 1 millionth report.
Director of Meteorology and NEXT Weather Meteorologist Mike Augustyniak started the program in 2012, and it's been growing ever since. At last count, there are more than 2,000 volunteers who have contributed to the network.
"This is just sort of the perfect combination of the passion for our viewers and the need for more neighborhood-level data," Augustyniak said.
From measuring rain and snow to sharing photos and videos, WCCO Weather Watchers are the eyes and ears of their community and help increase the accuracy of WCCO's forecasts.
"We also have the ability to connect and hear the real-world impacts in real time as to how the weather is impacting people's lives as opposed to just the raw numbers," Augustyniak said. "And that really is part of our NEXT Weather promise."
Randy Cirksena Jr., of Geneva, is one of those valuable Weather Watchers. Just a few weeks ago, he submitted the network's 1 millionth report.
"We need to reward you for your efforts. You're like a mailman. You've gone out in the rain, the snow, the wind," WCCO meteorologist Chris Shaffer said.
He's among the thousands who have performed similar feats since the program launched Nov. 27, 2012.
"I'm always watching the weather. As a Minnesotan, that's one of our hobbies because it's a necessity," Cirksena said.
No matter what Mother Nature throws our way, our Weather Watchers have been there and ready to help.
"Those are all volunteer reports. These are people that are getting up early or going to bed late to help us, just because they want to and they're engaged with the weather and WCCO, and that's just beyond my wildest dreams," Augustyniak said.
If you have a thermometer and a rain gauge, you can apply to be a part of this dedicated "weather army" by clicking here.
"Just do it and have fun doing it. It's just a nice way to give back. And you know, it actually may help someone in a way you can't ever imagine," Cirksena said.
The future is bright for the Weather Watcher Network. We're working to make it even easier for you to access all the reports and data from other weather watchers all across the country.
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