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Posted on: June 1, 2018

Regional Flood Forecasting Project Wins 2018 Government Innovation Award

Hampton Roads region partnership enhances flood response 


Using technology to capture tidal information at the street-level has garnered Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News a national award in innovation. The StormSense Project was recognized with a Public Sector Government Innovation Award. The announcement was made Friday.


StormSense is a partnership between the cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, the Virginia Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency (CCRFR) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The CCRFR is a partnership between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), the College of William & Mary’s (W&M) Virginia Coastal Policy Center, and Old Dominion University. This marks the 7th award StormSense has received in the last year.


A new network of 28 bridge-mounted Internet of Things (IoT) water level sensors gathers data used to enhance emergency preparedness for flooding resulting from storm surge, rain, and tides. Newport News has installed 10 new sensors, Norfolk 6, and Virginia Beach has installed 12 in the last year, effectively doubling the number of water level monitoring assets in the region.


The project was initially funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology via a Replicable Smart City Technologies grant. The installation of an additional 6 sensors over the coming weeks is being funded through an award from Natural Resources Defense Council. Dr. J. Derek Loftis, Assistant Research Scientist, VIMS, W&M, is the project manager leading the effort.


The newly-installed suite of sensors the will be integrated with VIMS’s Tidewatch Network, operated through the CCRFR, to provide 36-hr tidal forecasts at new sensor locations to enhance the reach of their existing tidal prediction network. This effort, integrated with other modeling technologies, will aid in improving flood predictions throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay.

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