The National Weather Service is looking for Iowans to fill some of the vacancies in their Cooperative Observer Program (COOP).

The COOP program was formed in the late 1800s and has allowed the National Weather Service to keep extensive climate records for various locations across the state. “These official records are invaluable to learning more about floods, droughts, heat and cold waves, agricultural planning and assessment, engineering, and litigation,” said NWS Des Moines.

Co-op observers are volunteers who use equipment provided and maintained by the National Weather Service. The equipment records daily high and low temperatures, as well as precipitation and snowfall amounts at a particular time. On average, the daily attention the volunteer would need to devote to being a co-op observer is less than 5 minutes.

Locations where help is needed:

  • Albia
  • Ankeny
  • Beaconsfield
  • Bedford
  • Britt
  • Clarion
  • Conrad
  • Gilman
  • Harcourt
  • Hubbard
  • Jewell
  • Lorimor
  • Ottumwa
  • Parkersburg
  • Tripoli
  • Winterset

“Observations can also play a critical part in deciding whether local communities receive state and federal disaster declarations and benefits. If observations are not available for your location, officials may determine these declarations, with hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on the line, based on surrounding observations, which may or may not be representative of your community,” said NWS Des Moines.

If you are interested in helping with the co-op program you are asked to reach out to NWS Des Moines by email at or by calling (515) 270-4501.