Only a handful of people volunteer for National Weather Service collecting rainfall totals

Experts say more volunteers are needed

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - When you love tracking the weather as much as Rich Semmelmeier, you can't be afraid of heights. 

"This is one of my many weather stations," said Semmelmeier, from his rooftop.

The Boynton Beach man collects the amount of rainfall in his yard for the National Weather Service. Turns out volunteers like him are few and far between. 

"We have a void in the Delray beach area. North of West Palm Beach, that's another huge area here we're missing active members," said Semmelmeier.

The information could be cruicial in another torrential downpour like the storm that dropped about 17 inches on Kings Point in Delray Beach in January. 

"They have localized flooding problems that won't be known because there's no data coming from that area," said Semmelmeier.

Only eight people across Palm Beach County posted rainfall totals in the last 24 hours. Semmelmeier says there needs to be many more. 

"Any weather disaster, flooding, for insurance, how much it rained in an exact neighborhood versus the nearest measuring location which might be the airport which isn't close," he said.

Semmelmeier has instruments setup in his backyard to gather weather data, but all you need to volunteer is an 11-inch rain gauge.

Volunteers are asked to post rainfall amounts every day. For more information on how to participate visit


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