CO 2013 Flood

The Meteorology behind the Flood

The rains that occurred during the week of September 9th through the 16th, 2013 were different than what we typically see in Colorado. The event was caused by a block in the jet stream that held a low-pressure cell over the Great Basin and a highpressure cell over the Midwest stationary over the course of a week. These stationary circulations drew up moist, tropical air from both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, dumping rain over New Mexico and Colorado for days. This type of rain event is rare for Colorado, with an estimated 1,000-year recurrence interval measured in the Northern Front Range.


CO 2013 Flood

The Flood

Unusual characteristics associated with the rain event that caused the 2013 flood triggered the rivers to behave differently than what is typically observed in Colorado floods, leading to massive erosion that reshaped and redirected stream channels and also catastrophic failure of debris dams that exacerbated peak discharges. Unlike previous known flash floods in Colorado where a river peak-stage depth can rise over a matter of minutes as in the Big Thompson Canyon flood in 1976, the 2013 flood caused creeks to rise more slowly, simultaneously and stay at peak levels for several hours. This behavior caused massive debris transport and damage, but also allowed for emergency responders to get people up and out of the way and save many lives. Although the rain event was rare, the flood event along the Saint Vrain River, though significant, was not as uncommon, with about a 500-year recurrence interval measured in Lyons. The peak flow of the Saint Vrain River in Lyons during the flood has been estimated at over 23,000 cfs (cubic feet per second): a flow-rate nearly 100 times its average of 250 cfs at this time of year (September).



2015 UWOL Fun Shoot

UWOL, or Under Water Over Land international film challenge, is a platform where outdoor and wildlife filmmakers can enter a by-monthly video challenge to hone skill and receive friendly and critical feedback from fellow challengers. When an entry thread is posted on, filmmakers can sign up, not knowing beforehand what the challenge theme will be. The theme is announced the start day of the challenge and contestants have three weeks to create a 4-min wildlife video based on the challenge theme. Winners are voted for amongst the submission group based on creative and technical skill as well as how well an entry addressed the theme. Everyone gets feedback on posted feedback threads which is really the point of the forum. It’s an excellent way to continually hone filmmaking skill, push boundaries, learn new techniques and of course, make friends from around the world.

The recent 2015 UWOL Fun Shoot was an in-between-challenge challenge where old material could be used and anything goes. My entry, “Studio B” was an attempt to be on the fun/silly side of the spectrum. No winners in this challenge, just feedback and a good time. The next legitimate UWOL challenge will start November 1st.

Studio B