Citizen Science

Keep It Out. Soak It Up. Inform the Public.

Be a Discovery Lab Citizen Scientist!

Discovery Lab is teaming up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a Citizen Science project to track Extreme Precipitation in the Tulsa area.

Step 1

Build your own backyard rain gauge using the activity sheet or videos below.

Step 2

Report your weekly rain data for 6 weeks starting April 18th. (Be sure to empty your rain gauge after submitting your weekly total.)

Citizen Scientists that report their data all 6 weeks will be put in a drawing for some Discovery Lab swag.

Step 3

Send questions then watch the virtual forum at 1:30 p.m. on June 23rd to hear meteorologists, engineers, and city planners talk about the results from our Citizen Scientists around the city, compare them to years of intense flooding in our area, and answer your questions about extreme precipitation.

Below you will find the resources that will allow you to participate in this community project.

Data should be collected and submitted once a week for the duration of the project.

Extreme Precipitation Project: Rain Gauge

Activity Sheet

Use this activity sheet to make your own rain gauge. Common household materials and recyclables are used in this project.

Video Instruction

For additional background information and a visual guide to building your rain gauge, watch the video below.

Make a rain gauge with Dr. Ray Vandiver using a few simple items. Learn the importance of tracking weather to study our climate.

  • PK.S.2 Make observations of the physical and natural world.
  • 2.ESS1.1 Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly.
  • 3.ESS2.1 Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.
  • 4.ESS3.2 Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.
  • 5.ESS3.1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environments.
  • 6.ESS2.4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
  • 6.ESS3.2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects

FEMA Floodplains and Areas of Concern for Tulsa

Extreme precipitation can lead to flooding if the right resiliency plans have not been implemented.

Flooding Types:

Riverine Flooding occurs from excessive rainfall in upstream areas that forces rivers and streams to rise and overflow their banks, inundating the adjacent floodplains. Riverine flooding is usually a gradual process, with several hours to several days of warning time for downstream communities. This type of event usually remains in flood for a longer period than flash or urban flooding, and often causes more damage due to the length of time structures are inundated, the velocity and depth of water, and floating debris.

Flash Flooding is associated with large convective thunderstorms that frequent the region and can drop between 1 and 5 inches of rain in the course of an hour. When the soil is already saturated, rainfall from such storms can converge in creeks and streams suddenly, with little warning. Flash floods can reach peak flows within a few minutes. Waters from flash floods move with great force and velocity and can tear out trees, carry away houses and outbuildings, and destroy roads and bridges. These walls of water often carry large amounts of debris, sewage and pollutants. Although potentially hazardous to life and destructive of property, flash flooding usually lasts only a matter of hours.

Urban Flooding occurs when heavy rainfall runs off of structures, parking lots and streets and converges in culverts and drainage ways often clogged with debris. This causes streets to flood and storm sewers to back up.


On Tuesday, June 23rd from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., we will host a virtual forum with a panel of weather professionals from KJRH Channel 2 and city engineers to discuss your data, ask questions, share recommendations for improving community resiliency, and learn more about extreme precipitation.

Panelists include:

Brandon Wholey & Anne Brown (KJRH), Gary McCormick (City of Tulsa), and Taylor Malone (Up With Trees)


Email or call 539-867-1480.