- Start by reading Severe Flooding on the Colorado Front Range to learn about the September 2013 event.
- Become an expert on your topic by researching online. Check out the questions and topics related to your topic below.
- Meet with your group and prepare to make a presentation about your topic and what you learned. Remember to include:
- What your topic is
- The information you found
- Your interpretation of the information you found
- Where you found information
- Why it’s important
- You will be responsible for presenting your findings to the rest of the class. Your presentation should be 3-5 minutes long.
Topic 1: Tell us the numbers.
Numbers can be compelling. So what were the storm totals and how can you compare that to something that your audience can understand? What are the normal rainfall and streamflow amounts for September in Colorado? What do the numbers mean (i.e. what’s an inch, a foot, an acre-foot, how much does a gallon weigh)? To get started, take a look at Record Rainfall. To get a sense of whether the rainfall was unusual, check out the rainfall totals listed at Heavy Precipitation: Extreme Events (NOAA National Climatic Data Center).
Topic 2: Tell us their stories.
There were many stories about people and community impacts during the floods. What were some of the local, state, and federal impacts? Give examples of different impacts and at least one case story of a person or family’s experience. Use Google to research local reporting on the floods. Compare the sources and their points of view.
Topic 3: Tell us how it compares.
We know whether something is normal or not by comparing an event to past events. We know that much of the Front Range of Colorado lies in a floodplain, but how do the floods of 2013 compare to floods of the past? Choose at least two other floods to compare. The Colorado Historic Floods webpage is a good place to start your research.
Topic 4: Tell us the sequence of events.
The floods did not happen all in one day, there were many events that happened over the course of about a week. Make a timeline of events and give explanations for those events. The Flood Timeline webpage is a good place to start your research.
Topic 5: Tell us about the weather.
Was the storm forecasted? What were the weather events that led to the flood? Report the meteorological events that led to the flood. Use visual aids or drawings when possible. Make sure to find definitions of weather terms to explain to your audience. The Storm Meteorology webpage is a good place to get started.
Topic 6: Tell us about future concerns
There are people who say that climate change could have contributed to the rainfall event that led to these floods. What does this mean? How could changing the atmosphere change weather? Check out this NASA Earth Observatory climate change article to get started with your research and their article about the impact of climate change on natural disasters.