Flood Sensor Integration and Installation
Storm Water Services integrated the low cost flood sensors into the Flood Information Notification System (FINS) based on the deployment plan. This task included activities such as installation of the sensors, explore rapid deployment plan for significant events, quality assessment and quality testing of the sensors deployed, performance evaluation and analysis of the sensors, and alerts for First responders.
CMSWS developed an implementation and deployment plan for deploying low-cost flood sensors in an urban environment within the existing FINS, which relies on communications from field gage data for automated flood monitoring and alert notification. Low-cost flood sensors obtained by CMSWS and were integrated into the FINS network. All data reporting capabilities for each sensor type were tested with a focus on data quality, data reporting capacity, sensor reporting interference, and sensor calibration. CMSWS focused on methods to receive, store, and disseminate sensor data using proprietary and publicly available software packages.
Flood Inundation Mapping
Using historical records in combination with available stream sensor technology, CMSWS produces Flood Inundation Maps during a heavy rainfall event to indicating extent of flooding, depth of floodwater and properties affected. Emergency responders track flood water almost real-time to make decisions to save lives and property from rising water. Knowing the extent of the flooding help the community identify at-risk areas and place resources to those locations.
Using more then 130 USGS Stream Gages and Low-Cost Flood Sensors, CMSWS gathers data for a large portion of the FEMA Regulated Streams throughout Mecklenburg County.
Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services operates a very aggressive Flood Mitigation Program which is well known throughout the country. Through our buyout program CMSWS has removed more than 450 high-risk homes and businesses once located in the floodplain.
- Over 700 families have been removed to a less vulnerable location
- 185 acres of public space has been left undeveloped to allow the floodplain during heavy rain Storm Water Services estimates the buyouts have avoided more than $30 million in losses
- Future savings projected to reach over $300 million
Doral/Cavalier Apartments before buyout.
Same area after buyout with buildings removed.
During the November 12, 2020 flood event, Doral and Cavalier
Apartments would have experienced flooding if not for the County Buyout Program.
Flood Sensor Communication, Automation and Display
CMSWS provided research expertise on communication, automation, and display of data originating from the low-cost flood sensors into the Flood Information Notification System (FINS). The task included activities such sensor communication research and automated integration and display of the sensor data into the flood risk management tools (RARR).
Sensor communication research
- Communication portability. Explore the ability of the low-cost flood sensors to communicate with other systems and technologies.
- Communication with other systems (FIMAN, etc). Work with the State of North Carolina to determine if data from the low-cost sensors can be integrated into the FIMAN (Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network) network.
- Direct to cell notifications. Investigate the possibility of notification sent directly to citizens with cellular telephones in specific area around a low-cost sensor.
- Tie to public Emergency Management systems. Determine if low-cost sensors can be directly tied to existing EM notification systems like “Char-Meck Alerts”.
- Other communication options. Investigate the use of other platforms, such as social media, for communicating sensor data and alerts.