Operational Context – Extreme Rainfall

Today’s post is part 3 of a series on Operational Context (View the other posts in the series here).  In this third series, we will be looking at the same questions that we’ve been looking at throughout this series.  Today’s post will be looking at rainfall amounts, and is tied very closely to the last post on drought.  Essentially, many of the same datasets for extreme rainfall and drought can be used with one another, it’s just that the rainfall data is looking for an absence of rainfall when you’re looking at drought.  This will also tie into the next post on Operational Context – Flooding which will be looking at the extreme rainfall events and their impact as the water runs off.  So, let’s go ahead and look at today’s theme – extreme rainfall.

There are several ways to measure or estimate rainfall.  Most people know about rain gages and using them to measure rainfall (see examples in post on Innovative Ways to Teach the 3 M’s – Math, Maps, Measurement).  Rain gages are great for measuring what fell in a specific location, but there will always be gaps in coverage.  Rainfall can be enhanced or reduced by terrain or other geographic features, so point data by itself isn’t enough.  There are rain gages at major airports, and there are companies with portable weather stations where rainfall can be measured.  Additionally, did you know that you can participate in rainfall measurement directly by participating in CoCoRaHS (stands for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, & Snow Network)? Continue reading


US Array – Viewing Seismic Waves from Earthquakes

US Array

We hear the term “seismic waves” and we think of earthquakes.  But have you ever seen a seismic wave?  What does it look like?  Can it be measured? Continue reading

Schools, Maps & Natural Disasters

When looking at mapping for disasters, one of the last places you would expect me to go topic wise is to look at Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for K-12.

There are four phases of emergency management – mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.  As emergency managers we often think of schools as a place to encourage preparedness – knowing what to do when disaster strikes.  But schools have so much more to offer us and there are some things we have to offer them as well. Continue reading

Innovative Ways to Teach the 3 M’s – Math, Maps & Measurements

Across the country, K-12 educators are teaching students about maps, math, units of measurement and trying to find new ways to present these lessons to their students.  Likewise, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Professionals, Meteorologists & Emergency Managers are using these same themes on a daily basis to protect their communities from weather related events.  Many schools have explored adding weather stations to their schools, but sometimes this equipment can start to get expensive as the costs add up.  How can we use some innovative real-world methods and examples to teach our K-12 students these critical skills while we’re continually losing funds due to budget cuts? Continue reading