2002 Annual

Sunday, 13 January 2002
Educational Opportunities from the Community Collaborative Rain and Hail Study (CoCo RaHS)
Nolan J. Doesken, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
The Community Collaborative Rain and Hail Study, CoCo RaHS, was established in 1998 to involve students, teachers and other local citizens in a project to measure, map and analyze detailed rainfall and hail patterns affecting local communities. The project was created in response to an extreme but highly localized rainfall event that occurred over Fort Collins, Colorado on July 28, 1997 dropping more the 360 millimeters of rain over portions of the city while only five kilometers away less than 50 millimeters fell. Flash flood caused approximately $200 million in damages and claimed five lives. Since 1998, CoCo RaHS, has grown into a multi-county program involving dozens of teachers and hundreds of volunteers as young as six years old to in their 80s. Rain and hail are measured using simple instruments provided by local sponsors. Data are collected and results are disseminated via the WEB at http://ccc.atmos.colostate.edu/~hail

Exciting and fun educational opportunities have emerged from CoCo RaHS, some planned but many spontaneous. Formal and informal education opportunities from this project will be described such as the very effective intergenerational training that most participants receive when they join the program. Professional meteorologists and climatologists address project participants each year in informal seminars and field trips. In April 2001, the first Rocky Mountain Weather and Climate Workshop was help bringing locally and internationally renowned scientists face to face with weather volunteers of all ages from three states. Opportunities for training programs for teachers have included internships at the Colorado Climate Center and support for developing lesson plans utilizing CoCo RaHS data. The remarkable value of accurate local rainfall and hail patterns has resulted in an extensive list of local sponsors who are helping CoCo RaHS grow each year. The simplicity, importance, and overall relevance of accurate local precipitation data for research, service and commerce is opening doors for growth and expansion as well as classroom applications of local rain and hail data.

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