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Trouble in paradise 

Street Smarts

Years of drought, a couple catastrophic fires, and now waves of torrential rain and flash flooding are making life in Colorado feel like a throw of the dice.

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Tom Szczech of the Midland area is a special education assistant

How has the recent flooding affected you? I hike with my dog every day, and the trails are a mess. It was a pretty bad at Stratton [Open Space], and I see a bank of Fountain Creek has been taken out at 21st [Street] and Highway 24.

Is the weather getting crazier? Back when I was a framing contractor, storms formed over the mountains and headed our way every afternoon like clockwork. Now, though, it's feast or famine — long periods of brittle dryness or tons of rain and flooding.

Is climate change a factor in all this? My sister in upstate New York says farmers have changed their planting season due to climate change.

What's next for Colorado in this regard? We're in scary danger of fires next summer, especially in the Cheyenne Mountain area.

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Robin Richardson of Briargate works with kids with disabilities

Has the flooding affected you? No, but I have friends with flooded basements and big worries about landslides.

Do you have flood insurance? No. I'm considering it now, though.

Is weather getting more extreme? Growing up during middle school and high school, summers here were mostly calm. I went away for college, and since coming back the summers are bouncing between extremely hot and dry and deluges of rain and flooding.

Is climate change a factor? A lot of areas are having huge storms and extreme temperatures, weather more drastic than usual.

Huge fires, heat, drought, floods ... what's next for Colorado? I've been in earthquakes in Chile — sure hope it's not that.

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Will Jordan of Fort Carson is a mechanic

Have you been a victim of flooding? Not personally, but I'm responsible for 52 guys who have to get to work in the morning. Some live up the pass.

Do you have flood insurance? We came here from Iowa. We lived right next to the [Mississippi] River, so flooding is on our radar. I'd seen news stories the past couple years about flash flooding in the mountains, so I opted for flood insurance here. Better safe than sorry.

Is climate change a factor in this extreme weather? If you have 7 billion people with half not doing the right thing, it's going to affect the climate.

What kind of winter awaits us? This'll be my first here. If it's anything like this summer's been, there'll be lots of weather, lots of snow.

What's next for Colorado, weather-wise? Heavy snowfall? Caved-in roofs?

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