Making waves: Uses of real-time, hyperlocal flood sensor data for emergency management, resiliency planning, and flood impact mitigation

Water Research: Volume 220 | 15 July 2022

Flooding is expected to increase due to intensification of extreme precipitation events, sea-level rise, and urbanization. Low-cost water level sensors have the ability to fill a critical data gap on the presence, depth, and duration of street-level floods by measuring flood profiles (i.e., flood stage hydrographs) in real-time with a time interval on the order of minutes. Hyperlocal flood data collected by low-cost sensors have many use cases for a variety of stakeholders including municipal agencies, community members, and researchers. Here we outline examples of potential uses of flood sensor data before, during, and after flood events, based on dialog with stakeholders in New York City. These uses include inputs to predictive flood models, generation of real-time flood alerts for community members and emergency response teams, storm recovery assistance and cataloging of storm impacts, and informing infrastructure design and investment for long-term flood resilience project planning.