Public Safety

An inundation forecasting research initiative to enhance emergency preparedness for flooding resulting from storm surge, rain, and tides.

Project Description:
• Use flood modeling to address multiple-flood types to determine probable areas at risk of inundation by utilizing bridge-mounted ultrasonic and microwave radar water level sensors alongside crowd-sourced data collection, verified by post-flood analysis
• Use new state-of-the-art high resolution hydrodynamic models driven with atmospheric model weather predictions to forecast flooding from storm surge, rain, and tides at the street-level scale to improve disaster preparedness

Major Requirements:
• Determine applicable models best suited to local conditions
• Beginning with tidal/surge modeling, conduct local verification of models vs. “ground truth”
• Determine locations for additional sensors and types
• Utilize the existing WiFi connectivity for sensors, and alerting systems
• Recruit/train local personnel to take real-time readings to update the forecasting
• Expand the program to neighboring jurisdictions, then regionally via a Long-Term Predictive Modeling Plan for local, regional, national, and global applications.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Success Metrics:
• Verify the accuracy of the VIMS TideWatch predictions with post-storm analysis
• Statistical analysis of forecasts vs. time issued, actual flood area and depth.
• Emergency response-time analytics during upcoming flood scenarios
• Verify the accuracy of the multi-flood type models with post-storm analysis with future goals are to improve prediction of flood depths and extents by 10% between stages 2 and 3

Projected Impacts:
• Predicts the timing of flooding and flooded evacuation routes
• Aids in rerouting emergency routes for public safety
• Saves lives and reduces property damage
• Identified future mitigation projects

Replicability, Scalability, and Sustainability:
• Expand the program and modeled areas to neighboring jurisdictions
• Then expand regionally via a Long-Term Predictive Modeling Plan for local, regional, national, and global applications
• For more on project approach, please visit:

• Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary (VIMS)
• Christopher Newport University
• State of VA, Department of Health
• Wetlands Watch

Acknowledgments: Elizabeth Mayo
Verizon Wireless
Managing Partner

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