Video: North Carolina Emergency Management
BURGAW—As hurricane season is set to arrive, Pender County this year will join the state’s early warning system when it comes to flooding.
The county has announced that it has installed a new flood gauge in the Black River.
Tom Collins, Pender County’s Emergency Management manager, said the new gauge will be part of the state emergency management system’s “Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network.”
“This state-of-the-art gauge provides real-time data,” Collins said.
With 560 operating flood gauges across the state, the warning network was crucial last year when 5-8 inches of rain fell in the Piedmont region during a late-April storm.
(Track flood conditions from your phone through the state’s ReadyNC app.)
That’s according to a press release from the county, which notes that, due to the warning system, the state was able to warn communities along the Neuse River that it was cresting and how high water would likely get in their communities.
“As the backbone of the state’s FIMAN system, the gauges provide real-time data that’s used to formulate forecasts, issue alerts and predict the flood’s impact to buildings and infrastructure,” the release states.
The warning system came into play again during Hurricane Matthew, when FIMAN was used to direct evacuations and deploy resources.
“It can show precisely which buildings and homes will flood when local rivers or streams reach certain flood levels,” the release states.
During Hurricane Matthew, FIMAN was used to accurately direct evacuations and deploy resources. It can show precisely which buildings and homes will flood when local rivers or streams reach certain flood levels.
“Time and again over the last several years, we’ve used data from these flood gauges to warn residents and communities about dangerous flood conditions,” Mike Sprayberry, North Carolina emergency management director, said.
The data collected by North Carolina Emergency Management is also made available to NOAA and the National Weather Service to be incorporated into their flood forecasts.
Residents can also track the rising waters.
Sprayberry said much of the flood data is available in real time through the ReadyNC mobile app by North Carolina Emergency Management.
Users of the app can click on the “Flood Gauges” tab to check the current status of nearby creeks and rivers. That will show them if a stream is at normal levels or minor, moderate or major flood stage.
While the state has purchased and installed most of the FIMAN gauges, several communities also have bought devices to add to the state’s flood-warning system.
Collins said Pender County paid $20,000 to have its gauge installed.
“It will be state maintained and will provide us important information before, during, and after a flood event,” Collins said.
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