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Houston Drivers Have A New Way to Monitor Street Flooding Before They Hit The Road

The system will use flood gauge data to indicate streets that are likely to go underwater during heavy rain

Harris County’s traffic monitoring center is rolling out a new tool that will help drivers find high water locations during flood events.

Houston TranStar’s real-time maps already indicate flooding on freeways. Now those maps will show if there’s a probability of high water on side streets.

To create the new map, Houston TranStar collaborated with the Harris County Flood Control District. Data from the county’s rainfall sensors are overlaid on the map to indicate where there’s a risk of flooding.

Flood Control Meteorologist Jeff Lindner explained that when a rain gauge hits eight-tenths of an inch in a fifteen-minute window, a three-mile buffer will light up on the map.

“About an inch of rain in 15 minutes is enough water to flood most roadway systems,” explained Lindner. “On something like July 4th or Harvey or Tax Day or some of the other storms, you’re probably going to see most of these sensors lit up across the entire county. And that’s when you’re going to know it’s a widespread serious situation, most of the roads are impacted.”

Officials say the new warning system can’t tell you exactly if a side street if flooding but it can help you make decisions on what route to take.

Metro said it also plans to use the system to give real-time information to riders on routes that may be disrupted.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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