Brunswick County Installs Flood Sensors

Wilmington, NC – In past storms Brunswick County's Emergency Manager hasn't known which of his roads were flooded until somebody gave him a call from the water's edge.

No more, says Randy Thompson.

A new network of sensors will monitor water levels at eight of the most vulnerable points in the county, relaying that information back to the Emergency Operations Center.

Thompson says the data will allow police to close roads before they flood.

We'll be able to know exactly what the gauge amount is for the road to be impacted, and we'll be able to say, 'in an hour, we're going to have a roadway that's impassible.'

The Renaissance Computing Institute, a research partnership between North Carolina universities and the state, designed the prototype flood sensors. The group is using grants to fund the entire project.

If it's successful, the technology may be installed in other flood-prone areas.

Thompson describes the equipment as electronics-filled PVC pipes with sensors to measure rainfall and water levels. While they're being installed this week, Thompson doesn't know when he'll see the network in action.

Sure would be nice to get some rain so we could kind of test it out.

The experimental flood sensors are being placed in eight locations along Brunswick County roads: three on Route 17, two on NC-133, and one each on NC-87, NC-211, and Ocean Isle Beach Road.

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