High water threatens W. Division Street in Arlington
Another round of thunderstorms Tuesday blanketed Tarrant County with rain and more flash flood warnings.
So what is Fort Worth doing to help drivers avoid high water?
Engineers in the city’s storm water department, with the help of a state grant, have been studying how to better communicate flash flood warnings quickly and accurately. Currently the city relies on a series of weather stations and high-water warning lights at dozens of low-water crossings, floodplain administrator Clair Davis said.
By the end of December a city website will show rain data from the 61 weather stations around Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Monitoring rainfall will help the city better determine where flooding will occur ahead of time. The site eventually may use cameras, social media and navigation apps like Google Maps to help drivers avoid floods. Three people died in Fort Worth flooding in September.
“It will really just help you plan your trip better,” said Ranjan Muttiah, a senior engineer.
Earlier this year, Austin introduced a flash flood camera system with an interactive map. Like a traffic camera, near real-time images provide updates on water levels at flood-prone crossings while the map shows which roads are dangerous or impassable.
Muttiah hopes Fort Worth can have a similar tool, but the question is how much will such a system cost and where will it be deployed.
In the future, images could be shared on social media, in an app or integrated into Google Maps or Waze. When flash flooding Tuesday forced the closure of Randol Mill Road, Fort Worth’s emergency management department tweeted about it. Muttiah said something similar can be done with a feed devoted to the city’s flood prone streets.
These developments could be a ways off, Davis said.
“We’re just beginning to work on this,” he said.